RE: RARA-AVIS: MacDonald: Nevins after Pelecanos (and Macdonald)

From: Todd Mason (
Date: 03 Apr 2001

Jess and George, I think you've put your finger on their appeal. If one wants mere male wish-fulfillment, there's Spenser, among others. Albeit the chagrin tinging every TM novel just makes McGee that much more the Romantic hero.

MacDonald, as evidenced by THE EXECUTIONERS, was not a typewriting McGee
(with his paternalistic attitude); though I find McGee a far more believable kind of "battered knight" (particularly in his time) than many of the other canonical detective-series characters.

And I would like to suggest that those who feel Ross Macdonald's Archer wasn't noir enough...well, perhaps the Lew Archer short story collection wouldn't satisfy that itch for you, either, but you should try it. TM

-----Original Message----- From: Jess Nevins [mailto:]

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
> 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
> 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. So McGee
> is the man we--okay, most of us--would like to see when we look in the
> mirror.

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.

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 03 Apr 2001 EDT