Re: RARA-AVIS: Out of Sight/Willeford's Burnt Orange

Mario Taboada (
Wed, 22 Jul 1998 05:54:16 +0000 Thank you guys for recommending Out of Sight. I'll make sure and see it.
I really enjoyed the book.

Has anyone read Leonard's "Cuba Libre"? I have on my "to buy" list and
was wondering what sort of priority I should give it.

Bird's eye comment on the assigned reading:

Since I had read the book not long ago, there were no plot surprises so
I concentrated exclusively on how Willeford builds his characters. He
seems to view the American male as a desolate, empty-at-the-core,
fearful, and innocently cruel being who survives by talking the talk,
bragging, and keeping up appearances and who is often stretched too
tight and snaps. There are similarities between Figueras and the
protagonist of "The Woman Chaser". As a New Yorker cartoon said once,
these guys are "haunted by potential". The anxiety of the insecure male
trying to make it seems to be a typical American phenomenon. It must be
old - Thorstein Veblen talks about it in his classic (1899) "Theory of
the Leisure Class". From the first page (on this re-reading) I could
sense that Figueras's ambitions smelled bad, that they were
disproportionate to the man himself. In a sense, Figueras is an
automaton, guided only by his ambition and a very restricted form of
reason. His cheating by trying to paint the thing himself when there was
no Debierue to be had is done with no hesitation.

More later,

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