Re: RARA-AVIS: Kent Anderson, Crumley, and Tim O'Brien

Date: 03 Dec 2000

Mark wrote:

"This may be veering a little bit off topic -- although considering the number of Viet Nam vets in hardboiled books maybe not -- I was wondering how you rate Crumley's One to Count Cadence (which I keep meaning to read) and Tim O'Brien's books."

ONE TO COUNT CADENCE is a novel I think that is too often overlooked. Crumley certainly grew as a writer by the time he wrote THE LAST GOOD KISS, but I think CADENCE is a good American military novel from the Vietnam period. Tim O'Brien: IF I DIE IN A COMBAT ZONE is an excellent Vietnam memoir -- liberal, anti-war Ivy Leaguer "does the right thing" and goes into the military when he's drafted after college -- and GOING AFTER CACCIATO struck me as being very good when it first appeared; it, of course, one the National Book Award and was considered something of an instant classic when it appeared, but I don't know how well it's held up with the passage of time. As I said, I read it when it first came out. Not to knock CACCIATO at all, but the Anderson, Stone, and Hasford (and why isn't this book back in print yet?) books are more down-to-the-bone, more gritty than O'Brien's novel. I read O'Brien's first four books, but haven't kept up with him since.

By the way, Crumley's got something in the new ESQUIRE (January); I haven't read it yet.


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