Re: RARA-AVIS: Recent reads

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 21 May 2001

Jane wrote:

"I read 1974 when it came out and found it to be very atmospheric, nasty and no holds barred when it comes to depicting police,journos and any other assorted scum that make up the main characters...just my type of book."

Sounds like my kind of book, too. It just moved higher on my TBR pile.

I was just thinking about this, the appeal of works with no sympathetic characters, sometimes despicable characters. As long as they are interesting, I'm hooked.

I've been meaning to order Jason Starr's Nothing Personal for a while. This review on Amazon finally got me off my ass:

"I did not find this book to have any positive message for the reader. All of the characters are so self absorbed that they care more about their personal wants then the needs of their spouses or children. This book propogates the belief that it is alright to live this way - because
"everyone else does." Todays culture encourages people to read garbage like this in the guise that we will see the people suffer for their wrong doings, and therefore not act in these manners. . . ."

I don't know about you, but I don't read books of this sort as cautionary tales. As a matter of fact, I don't even require a bad ending for the bad guy. And if it's a tacked on "oops, time for the anti-hero's comeuppance" ending, I may even resent it.

"Usually in the mix of characters there is someone that the reader can side with (the protagonist), but if I knew any of these individuals I would choose not to associate with them. So why would I want to read a book about them?"

Me, I like a glimpse of the other side, but at a safe distance. I sure wouldn't want to meet people like these in real life, either, but I enjoy reading about them. There's probably a bit of "there but for the grace of God go I," but I think there's more of the flip side, imagining what would happen if all of society's mores were simply shrugged off.

Funny how a negative review can become a positive endorsement.


# 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 : 21 May 2001 EDT