Re: RARA-AVIS: Sentimental guys

Timothy S. Oliver (
Thu, 9 Dec 1999 21:39:39 -0700

> And Bill, myabe Parker wouldn't give anyone fifty bucks. But he does give
> some old pros a call when he knows they could use the job. Of course,
> they flub up, and there's your story. Most hard-boiled attitude is a
> anyway. A public face. I'm always interested in the character's
> worldview--despair? bleak? cold? I'm interested in that idea of being
> hard-boiled.
> Neil Smith

I can see Parker giving the bum $50. But he sure wouldn't go on for four pages about the plight of the homeless and tell us all about his own deprived childhood. Leave that to Grisham.

I'm struggling with this "world view" thing. On the one hand, I get so tired of having to read the author's opinion on social and political issues. On the other hand, the protagonist's perspective can really drive the plot.

Night Dogs by Kent Anderson is probably my favorite recent work. It's full of his hero's guts. Somehow when Anderson does it, I get absorbed.

Right now I'm reading Izzi's Matter of Honor. I am enjoying it, but I'm skipping whole sections where he goes on and on about the plight of the inner city, the hero's disfunctional childhood and his partner's struggle as a black cop. Yawn.

I know Anderson lived it as a cop in Portland. Maybe that gives it an immediacy, or intimacy, that carries it along.

Pelecanos uses the social and political setting as a backdrop against which the action resonates. Great stuff.

Dannie Martin and Edward Bunker both weave in the prison experience and criminal life such that the protagonist's self-destructive actions make a certain perverse sense. Likewise Eddie Little and the life of a criminal and junkie. These guys' stuff is so real it scares this coddled little suburban white boy. Can't get enough.

Any thoughts?

Tim Oliver

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