Re: RARA-AVIS: you're HOW old?

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 05 Jan 2000

Before discovering the hardboiled genre in my late teens I was a voracious reader of general fiction. The highlights of those years were Robert Louis Stevenson, Chesterton, J. B. Priestley, and P.G. Wodehouse -- and E.B. WHite's classic collection, _One Man's Meat_. All of these are still favorites. They showed me that you could write brilliant stuff about any topic whatsoever, that the stuff was in the writing, not on the topic, and that there were definitely different levels of achievement in literature (and I hadn't yet met Cervantes, Faulkner, Borges, Calvino, and so on!).

The first hardboiled book I ever read was Chandler's now out-of-print collection of "cannibalized stories",
_Killer in the Rain_. This completely bowled me over, and it also spoiled _Farewell My Lovely_ for me since the original stories are better, or at least I thought so then. Around the same time, I got a copy of Howard Browne's _The Taste of Ashes_, another great discovery and lifelong favorite. I quickly went and got all the Chandlers and stumbled upon Hammett in some blurb or other. That was the next discovery. I haven't stopped since...

Recent discoveries: Pelecanos, Kent Harrington, Billie Sue Mosiman, Kent Anderson.

Some guys I discovered waaaay too late: William Campbell Gault, Richard Prather, Peter Rabe, David Goodis and Cornell Woolrich.

Regards to all, gray and otherwise. When accused of being an old man, Cervantes said that he didn't write with his great hairs but with his wisdom, which got better, not worse, with age.


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