RARA-AVIS: Wild Things

Greg Swan (greg@swans.org)
Wed, 29 Jul 1998 11:10:25 -0700 Anyone else read the Barry Gifford novel this movie was based on? I picked
it up because Gifford was the editor at Black Lizard. Also picked up and
read Port Tropique for the same reason.

Gifford has a tendency to play with chapter format and phrasing, similar to
what I've seen in Ellroy's later stuff and also in Vacchs (to name two from
the noir/harboiled genres). I think of this style of writing as "avant
garde," mostly because it reminds me of avant garde music's decisive move
toward foregrounding rhythm and eliminating melody. I guess it could also
be seen as gimmicky or annoying. I've got mixed feelings and often just
conclude the author was trying a bit too hard to be clever and unusual.

I'd almost have to coin a new genre for both of Gifford's books, but
especially Wild Things. Not sure what I'd call it. Maybe: nihilistic
gonzo? Things sort of happen in a light-hearted gonzo way, but these people
are self-destructive losers.

This isn't to say I recommend reading the books. They didn't really speak
to me. But the price of the admission is low: they're much shorter than your
average novel and easy to read.

Greg Swan

Mark Sullivan wrote:
> Jack,
> Thanks for reminding me of the end shots. To anyone who has not seen
> Wild Things: DO NOT GET UP AND LEAVE (or start rewinding) AS SOON AS THE
> CREDITS START TO ROLL!!! There are several short scenes embedded in the
> credits that are well worth seeing.
> Mark
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