RARA-AVIS: Re: Spenser Then and Now

From: Gerald So ( gso@optonline.net)
Date: 14 Dec 2000

Hello, all.

Dave White's post and John Williams's reply bring up the main problem in the Spenser debate. It's almost as if there are two Spensers: Pre-Catskill and Post-Catskill.

Parker's best achievement was to create characters (Spenser, Hawk, Rachel Wallace, Lee Farrell) who didn't fall into easy categories. Hawk was a man, not a black; Rachel Wallace was a woman, not a lesbian. Before Catskill, Parker took the time to make them viable.

John's complaints (minority characters praising Spenser, Hawk's posturing, Spenser's Bondish behavior) come into play from Catskill on. Today, instead of tapping his characters' potential, Parker paints in broad strokes. His writing *is* full of quick fixes and self-conscious musing.

Each new subpar entry seems to prove Parker ran out of material just before Catskill. If he had retired Spenser then, how would we view Parker/Spenser today?


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