RE: RARA-AVIS: Comments about Jack O'Connell

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 07 Sep 2000

If you like one Jack O'Connell, you will probably like them all. All are just as dense (a compliment, not an insult) and layered as Word Made Flesh; all deal with various aspects of language and communication theory.

However, don't let that scare you off, all of that is wrapped around tight, albeit sometimes surreal, plotting and intriguing characters. As a matter of fact, it is the all-too-human characters who anchor the books, keeping them from spinning off and becoming expressionistic nightmares. By making these things happen to such believable people, inflicted by real people, it makes the horrors more concrete.

Although there are occasional, brief mentions of characters from other books, each stands alone. All are set in his deeply textured Quinsigamond, much in Bangkok Park, the bad part of town, where gangs of various ethicity are vying for control.

When someone recently asked about who was pushing (dragging?) hardboiled into new places, but remaining true to the essence of the genre, O'Connell was the first name I thought of.


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