Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: That Ever-popular Macdonald Conspiracy

Geraldine Kudaka (
Tue, 30 Mar 1999 23:38:18 -0800 My point is I happen to like his retelling of the "same Freudian story,"
and I don't think I'm alone. Looking at the numbers of what stays in print,
it seems people buy his "retelling the same Freudian story over and over
In other words, I'm not alone.

Despite your complaints of his repetitiveness, he and his body of work has
stood the test of time. He over-shadows many writers who created new and
varied plots, themes, and characters, who didn't repeat themes.

I just started reading Nolan's biography, which I find fascinating. A great


At 10:58 PM 3/15/99 -0500, you wrote:
><<On the contrary. As a lurker, I have to step out and say that I, for
>one, did not feel cheated. What I loved about Macdonald was the depth of
>his stories. I am going to have to read his bio because after reading
>his books, I was convinced he came from an exceptionally dysfunctional
>family. Why else does his root of crime go so far back?>>
>I am convinced that at a certain point he felt compelled (perhaps to the
>point of obsession) to write about the long-term consequences of
>people's actions. My comment, however, had little to do with the
>author's reasons for writing what he did; I was referring to his
>palpable dependence on a formula.
><<Perhaps the attitude that crime has no history, that we have made
>ourselves comes out of the shortness of American memory. While we
>celebrate the 200th anniversary of this country, others are talking
>about thousands of years of civilization. While Los Angeles tears itself
>down and reconstructs new streets, neighborhoods and communities,
>Europe, Asia and the rest of the world is bound to its past.>>
>All of this is true, but I don't see what it has to do with my post, or
>with Ross Macdonald's themes, or with his constant reuse of them after
>The Galton Case -- unless you are talking about people in the United
>States wanting desperately to forget where they came from. There is
>certainly enough of that. However, I doubt that this is the right forum
>to discuss one of our great national neuroses and myths. I also doubt
>that Ross Macdonald's novels could be stretched to a giant metaphor
>covering an entire country's desire to deny its past. In my opinion,
>this is better accomplished by fictions that, working from inside a
>given group, reveal how it interacts with the mainstream (I am using
>this unforgivable word for lack of a better one) and how it remains
>different -- for me personally, Henry Roth's _Call It Sleep_ and its
>incredible late sequels, as well as Bernard Malamud's works, do that
>marvellously. They invoke specific images, specific codes, specific
>languages, and a specific ethos.
>Did I say that this was not the right forum?
>Regards, and apologies for rambling wildly off-topic.
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