RARA-AVIS: Blue Lonesome

Tue, 7 Sep 1999 02:18:02 EDT

Bill Denton seemed to give Blue Lonesome mild praise and others have strongly endorsed the novel. I've never read anything by Pronzini, and I'd like to go and read some of the Nameless books. However, I really didn't like Blue Lonesome too much. Bill mentions its weak resolution. In a good deal of hardboiled writing, I care less about resolution than on what's going on from moment to moment. I found Blue Lonesome not too hard, nor was it filled with one intense scene after another. I also thought the prose was often flat. Pronzini also relies a lot on exposition. For instance, he summarizes Jim Messenger's discussion of jazz without rendering it in dialogue or attempting to describe the music in detail (or, say, the scene in which Jim and Dacy listen to it). I'm not sure the prose--its pace even--renders the action's tempo or the character's feelings. Perhaps I'm not playing fair however--I just read Shoot the Piano Player before Blue Lonesome. SPP is better on desperation, anxiety, and even as a love story. On the flip side, I've got to make sure that I read some living writers and Walker may be a publisher to support (aren't they still an independent?).


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