Re: RARA-AVIS: New Hope for the Dead

Date: 12 Jan 2001

In a message dated 1/11/01 10:40:02 PM, writes:

  <<Hoke has three books in his room: HEIDI (left over from his divorce), A STONE FOR DANNY FISHER by Harold Robbins, and a Webster's dictionary. When he buys and reads "an occasional paperback novel," he leaves it in the lobby of his hotel for the others. What's with the Harold Robbins novel? Does anyone know what it's about? >>

A Stone for Danny Fisher is classic growing-up book, roughly a working class version of Catcher in the Rye: Jewish kid from Brooklyn, before WWII, wants to be a fighter, his parents object, he does so anyhow, and gets mixed up with gamblers, racketeers.

<< parenting skills are pretty low (witness his birds and bees talk with his daughters, and taking out Aileen's braces was horrible), >>

The rooftop discussion about Sue Ellen and Aileen's choice -- you can get married or you can wash dogs-- is hilarious.
 Seems to me you can tell which authors make a living teaching freshman comp by the appearance of either/or thinking. Writers who have graded 700+ essays a semester full of lines like "either we kill the enemy or seek personal salvation in the Afterlife" are likely to sneak in a line or two reducing sexual politics to marriage or washing dogs. Seems that many HB protaganists who have a family life at all have a cobbled-together family like Hoke's. Vachss may be an extreme example. Or James Lee Burke's David Robicheaux if you count his demons, phantoms and recurring nightmares as part of his family. And if you don't count the demons, what's a family for? Betsy

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