RARA-AVIS: Real Crime/Crime fiction

cooper (jane@almaludo.freeserve.co.uk)
Wed, 6 Oct 1999 21:02:55 +0100

I've just finished reading Happy Like Murderers by Gordon Burn which is an account of the Rosemary/Fred West murders which occurred during the 80s and early 90s in Gloucester, England.Then resuming reading HB crime I was struck by the thought that "Thank God, this isn't real" Even though the books and subject matter may be grim, they are only the product of someones imagination and that's as far as it goes. I know that never in my life am I going to be rampaging through the deep south, shooting bad guys in the company of an equally bad compadre, or chasing any type of bad guys for that matter.We know that although there will be lots of innocent blood spilt there will be some kind of reckoning, and even if they do get away with it, it's only a book. Very few of us will be affected by violent death in the real world, but it's generally not going to be like in the book. The victims in the book were never going to be rescued by the FBI, the survivors are prisoners of the terrible life that they endured, they didn't go and get large guns and blow the sick f**** away. Love and fear, it's what keeps people chained in violent relations and will always make real life more Hard than anything we talk about here.The reality of violent death is usually nasty, sordid and sad, it leaves families broken, no-one usually tools up to go after the baddies, the police won't often find any deep buried consiracies linking the death to the the CIA or Columbian drug barons or even some serial loony. It'll just be one sad individual ending the life of another, to quote Gordon Burn from the book of the same name "Somebody's husband, somebody's son." Which is why I think that we read crime fiction, it's whistling to keep the demons away. We know that no matter what we read, real life is going to be even worse, more grim, even more nasty. And fiction has got more hard boiled, more violent and more gritty (my I hate that word) to keep pace with the real world, but it's our way of keeping it all at a distance. By the way I would recommend Mr Burn's work to anyone who hasn't read it. I don't usually like true crime, but he writes in a very unsensationalistic way and makes you think about the truly vile crimes perpatrated by the Wests, Peter Sutcliffe and Brady and Hindley and the nature of evil. He has also written some excellent semi crime fiction. I'm back on track now, and reading Rumble Tumble by Joe Lansdale, which is as good as the rest of his stuff that I've read.I envy you guys over there who have met him at signings etc, I'd love to meet him, he sounds a really nice (probably not the right word) well interesting guy. Jane

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Wed 06 Oct 1999 - 16:02:43 EDT