RARA-AVIS: Charles Williams

From: Mbdlevin@aol.com
Date: 18 Apr 2001

Mario Taboada writes:

<< I don't think a writer like Williams, who is neither flashy
 nor weird, has much of a chance of rediscovery by today's
 public. >>

In the last year or so, I read three novels by Williams: "Sailcloth Shroud,"
"Aground," and "Scorpion Reef." They are all good, though I liked the last two better than the first. Williams writes a great sentence and tells a good yarn. One thing stands out--especially in contrast to other hard-boiled (and Williams is maybe not quite hard-boiled): the three books I've read are romantic (unironic) love stories. They have a similar pattern in which the protagonist distrusts the seemingly wealthy, attached, spoiled, beautiful woman, but falls for her (and she is not a femme fatale). These novels might also fit into the work theme. All the male protagonists are sucked into dire straits by their professionalism (and often they are hard but educated or vaguely cultured men who are doing blue color boat work). Two other quick points: in "The Handle" (aka "Run Lethal"), Parker remarks that a boat is like a prison cell. He doesn't like being on a boat because he is trapped; Williams makes much of this situation. Finally, I notice that some of Williams' books have been made into European films (anyone seen them?)--and
"Dead Calm" was an Australian (?) film (plus the non-sea-going "Hot Spot"). It seems that his books would make good adaptations--tight plots that ratchet up, twists, a love interest, no need for extras, etc. I'd be up for hearing what others think of Williams. Also, does anyone have a bibliography (maybe Bill has one posted)? How many of his books are sea yarns and how many on land?


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