Re: RARA-AVIS: Death to Watson!

M-T (
Tue, 27 Apr 1999 00:52:34 -0800 Jason Boog:

<<Maybe's it's hard to think of examples of omniscient third person
narrators because its important to be immersed in a hardboiled setting
and to see it from the perspective of the hardboiled hero.>>

In Elmore Leonard's novels you see a frequent shift between a distant
third person and a (sometimes very) close third person, according to the
needs of the story. He also uses dialogue to a much greater degree than
other hardboiled writers; that way, the reader gets each character's
point of view up close and Leonard avoids the trap of a first-person
narrative, which can make a book seem episodic and sometimes static.
George Higgins does pretty much the same thing, but gives dialogue an
even greater role. Outside of the crime genre, the late great William
Gaddis wrote some novels almost entirely in dialogue, a dazzling feat.
Note also that Constantine's third person seems extraordinarily close to
a first person, partly because of dialogue and partly by the author's
great ability with language.


# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# The web pages for the list are at