RARA-AVIS: The Big Nowhere

Philip Benz (Philip.Benz@wanadoo.fr)
Wed, 17 Mar 1999 22:21:18 +0100 << The Big Nowhere precedes L.A. Confidential (the novel). All four of
the L.A. Quartet novels share some characters (notably, ultra-bad guys
Dudley Smith and Buzz Meeks). >>

Naah, Buzz Meeks is no ultra-bad. He's the closest to the hard-boiled
archetype in the whole novel. Tough, unstoppable, with an ineluctable
code of honor.

At first I was a little put off by Ellroy's constant PoV switching,
wondering when we were going to get a closeup on the killer, ࠬa _Red
Dragon_, but that never came. In the end, it all works back to Buzz
Meeks, who drove off knowing the whole story, our ostensible conduit for
transmission of the tale, just like Conrad's _Lord Jim_ where all the
bits of narrative can be traced down to the teller. Lesnick, the
killer's psychiatrist conduit, is the weakest link, but by the time we
get round to him in the closing pages we readers are too hungry for the
gory details to begredge Ellroy that minor leap in plausible

Such a pity narratology has fallen out of style. Hardboiled fiction
offers such meaty material for it.

Cheers, --- Phil
Lyc饠Astier, Aubenas, France

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