RARA-AVIS: Re: Anonymous Rex

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@colba.net)
Date: 21 Mar 2001

Chris wrote:

>Curious if any of you have read Eric Garcia's "Anonymous Rex" and what you
>thought of it. It's one of those Philip-Dick-meets-Chandler novels that's as
>much sci-fi as it is hardboiled -- the subgenre including "Who Killed Roger
>Rabbit," "Gun, With Occasional Music" and maybe "Anonymous Brooklyn"
>depending on how you look at it -- the twist here being that the detective
>is one of a secret society of dinosaurs that survived extinction and live
>among humans in disguise. Personally, I'm of two minds about the book.
>Garcia's captured Chandler's prose style quite well, I think, but I wonder
>if this kind of high-concept re-imagining has lost its freshness and is
>turning into a "Marlowe with [insert weird postmodern twist here]" set of
>- --

I haven't read Rex, but several folks in the P.I. POLL this month on my site considered it the most preposterous P.I. book they've ever read. And some just thought it was improbable.

Leaving quality aside, for a moment, I think you do MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN a disservice to lump it in with the other books. It's actually a fairly-straight P.I. story, rooted solidly in the real world, with no word balloons crashing to the floor, no gun-totin' kangaroos, no undercover dinos. It's premise (or "twist,' if you will) is that a guy with Tourette's Syndrome, who's been playing
"private eye" for years, as a sort of scam for his boss, actually has to become one to solve his boss' murder.

Lethem actually understands the genre, and burrows right to the core here, and doesn't rely solely on the over-used, facile trappings of the genre to drive his story.

As for quality, it's a damn good book, challenging, smart and provocative. I doubt Disney will be making a film out of this one, though I think they might have options on all the others....


Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.thrillingdetective.com
Now online: The P.I. Poll Grab Bag. Fiction by Laura Lippman, Darren Subarton and Robert Hoyden. And the debut of FEMME NOIR. -- # To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to # majordomo@icomm.ca. This will not work for the digest version. # The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

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