RARA-AVIS: 1st/3rd person narratives

Sun, 25 Apr 1999 14:21:49 EDT I was under the impression James Crumley's THE LAST GOOD KISS might have been
written in the 3rd person, but grabbing it off my shelf, was proved wrong.
funny how the memory fades with age and drug abuse.

interestingly however, Crumley's BORDERSNAKES, which has been stuck in heavy
rush hour traffic in my "to read" pile seems to be written in the first
person, with 2 separate narrators, Good Kiss's C.W. Sughrue and THE WRONG
CASE's Milo Mildragovitch.

this is a narrative style I've come across in other, none genre works of
fiction, but one not widely exploited in detective fiction, in which the 1st
person narrative is largely predominant.

thinking back, I now realize how I'd come to my mistaken impression re: The
Last Good Kiss. my first exposure to the material was the excellent
screenplay adaptation written by Walter Hill, a fairly hardboiled filmmaker
when he isn't cranking out studio fare in order to keep his career going.
Hill's underappreciated JOHNNY HANDSOME is a good example, starring the much
maligned Mickey Rourke, tough as nails Ellen Barkin, world weary Morgan
Freeman and escaped from hell Lance Henriksen. story follows facially
disfigured, low life petty criminal who, after plastic surgery has a chance
to live a new life and instead reverts to criminal ways and ultimately the
revenge that spells his own doom.

Freeman's cop, who allows Rourke's hood to go off and exact that revenge,
stands over the bleeding to death Johnny Handsome and sighs the last line
which dropkicks this dark tale smack into the realm of noir: "That doctor
didn't understand about that last part, did he, Johnny?"

few people do.

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