RARA-AVIS: Burnt Orange Heresy (spoiler)

ejm duggan (ejmd@mcmail.com)
Mon, 13 Jul 1998 10:40:20 -0700 I'm approaching the end of this novel and've read enough to post a few


skip this post if you haven't yet read B O H and don't want the story

My first thoughts on this are that it's a straight down-the-line
misogynist text. Why the hell would Berenice persist in a relationship
with a shit like Figueras?

I don't know if misogyny is a theme maintained throughout Willeford's
writing as this is the first I've read. I have a library copy of the
omnibus, so I'll flick through one of the other two stories---probably
Pick Up---to see how Willeford comes off.

As far as BOH goes though, the text doesn't really persuade me with the
story of art-critic turned hoaxer. (Though it is a really interesting
I'm not really convinced by Figueras's actions---the only plausible line
the plot can take after Figueras torches the studio is for him to write
a speculative piece on *why* D---[name?] 'does a Hammett' and stops
producing. The twist *ought to be* presenting the engineer of the theft
with the blank canvas. If Figueras is a hot as he tells us he is, the
blank canvas should allow him to go beyond his
'structuralism'---whatever that is meant to mean here---to wax
poststructurally about D- producing the ultimate readerly (painterly?)
text, the blank canvas.

FWIW, the low-point is surely that ludicrous line about not allowing for
the thickness of Berenice's hair when striking the first blow with the

Still, it's pulled me back on to the reading list.


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