Jim Fusilli is an American writer. He serves as rock and pop music critic for The Wall Street Journal. The author of six novels, he resides in New York City.
Fusilli was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, which often appears in his fiction as Narrows Gate, a gritty waterfront city in the shadow of Manhattan. His latest novel Narrows Gate is an epic set in the years surrounding World War II in the city’s Italian-American community. Its principal characters include an Italian-American crooner, a collection of gangsters, military men and intelligence operatives, assorted Hollywood types – and two young friends who must choose which path to take to escape the dangerous environment.
A graduate of St. Peter’s College, Fusilli began his journalism career at the Jersey Journal. When The Wall Street Journal launched its Leisure & Arts page in the early 1980s, Fusilli began contributing articles on rock and jazz. He was named the Journal’s rock & pop critic in 2008, at which time he began writing a weekly column for the newspaper. His video-interview series, featuring major and emerging rock and pop musicians in conversation, debuted on www.wsj.com in 2011.
Fusilli’s debut novel Closing Time was the last work of fiction set in New York City published prior to the 9/11 attacks. The following year, Fusilli’s novel A Well-Known Secret addressed the impact of 9/11 on the residents of New York City. Two novels for adults followed: Tribeca Blues and Hard, Hard City, which Mystery Ink magazine named its 2004 Novel of the Year.
In 2005, Fusilli wrote Pet Sounds, his tribute to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys’ classic album. Published by Continuum, the book, which Fusilli described as “an experiment in music journalism,” combines the rhythm and emotional weight of his fiction with the often-unorthodox observations of his music criticism. A favorite of novelists inspired by contemporary pop music, it was translated for a Japanese language edition by Haruki Murakami.
Fusilli served as the editor of, and contributed chapters to, the serial thrillers The Chopin Manuscript and The Copper Bracelet. His novel for young adults Marley Z and the Bloodstained Violin was published in 2008 by Dutton Juvenile.
Fusilli has written and published many short stories that have appeared in a variety of anthologies. “Chellini’s Solution,” which appeared in the 2007 edition of the Best American Mystery Stories, features Narrows Gate in the years following World War II. “Digby, Attorney at Law” portrays the fictional city in the early 1960s. It was nominated for the Edgar and Macavity awards in 2010.
Fusilli is married to the former Diane Holuk, a senior public relations executive. They have a daughter, Cara, a graduate of the New School.