Re: RARA-AVIS: MacDonald

From: Jess Nevins (
Date: 03 Apr 2001

George Pelecanos wrote:

> Commercially speaking, there has never been a smarter creation than Travis
> McGee. He is the embodiment of male wish-fulfillment. No nine-to-five job,
> lives by his own set of rules, resides on a houseboat, drinks but is not a
> drunk, tall, handsome, good with his fists but not a bully, etc. All of the
> women McGee sleeps with are built like centerfolds, and, more importantly,
> most of them conveniently kick before that bothersome issue of commitment
> comes to the forefront (one mystery store in New York actually has an
> annual Travis McGee Always the Bridesmaid Never the Bride Award in honor of
> the latest murdered female companion to a male series character). So McGee
> is the man we--okay, most of us--would like to see when we look in the
> mirror. And, yeah, I love the books. I even named my old dog, Travis,
> after McGee. And that dog was a bitch.

True enough about him being a male wish-fulfillment creation, but....well, it's been a while since I've reread them, but I remember a definite feeling of loss and depression at the end of a number of the novels. McGee has all the attributes of male wish-fulfillment, but I think MacDonald was a cannier writer than that. There's a definite feeling, when the good women go away, that McGee is alone again, and that that's not something that is a good thing. And the Lonely Silver Rain has an elegiac feel to it, as if both MacDonald and McGee knew that their time was over.

jess--JMO, of course

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