RARA-AVIS: Himes, Sallis, Als

From: Mbdlevin@aol.com
Date: 02 Jun 2001

Chong writes:

<< A very informative article [New Yorker] on the life and work of Chester Himes. I'm surprised Mr. Als, the writer, didn't like James Sallis's biography of Himes. >>

I felt sorry for Sallis because Als dismissed the book without saying much about it. At the same time, I'd praise all writers involved. The article on Himes seemed good, though not too focused on the crime fiction. I haven't read enough Himes to judge Als here, but he wrote a superb article on Flannery O'Connor in the New Yorker a few months ago (O'Connor--not you regular h-b writer, but she does have the mass murdering Misfit, and in Wise Blood, Hazel Motes runs over Hoover Shoats (I think it is ) with a car and then tells him to shut up as he is dying--h-b enough for me; John--Maltese Falcon--Huston directed the adaptation).

By Sallis, I just read Long-Legged Fly and Moth recently. Both are good, though Fly is better and definitely worth seeking out. Not a straightforward narrative--more like connected vignettes--some of which don't resolve as expected. How are the other Sallis novels? Titles, count?


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