Re: RARA-AVIS: Ellroy

Date: 13 Jun 2001 wrote:
> This discussion of Ellroy vs Joyce has been great. It's the kind of
> thing that keeps me subscribed to this list. But let's get this in
> proportion. As literate crime fiction readers we may feel insulted
> when some reviewer implies we're stupid (or should that be
> stoopid?). Yet it's just some reviewer for a middle-brow internet
> journal. Since when did middle-brow journals have a clue about
> crime fiction? Like university courses in crime fiction they tend
> only to deal with those crime writers they can compare
> (favourably, but not too favourably) with "great" writers outside
> the genre. It's the way they make their living: "I understand great
> art; so of course I can do trash as well. In fact, it makes me look
> cool". No clue at all.

Chris, you should try reading more Barra before you dismiss him like that. He's made a living as a freelance writer in places as diverse as the Wall Street Journal and the Village Voice. He's a long sight distant from the type of writer you describe.

And, as it happens, he -does- know his crime fiction.

Besides, what people here need to remember is that We Are Not The Average Crime Fiction Readers. We are in the upper crust. We are the literate, computer-using class, which is not, I think, what Barra was talking about. Most people here at least recognize the names "Ulysses" and "James Joyce," even if they haven't read them. (Confession: after four tries I gave up on Ulysses. I groove on Joyce's shorter stuff, though). But most mystery readers, I think, would not recognize those names.

I don't think Barra was confusing people like us with the average mystery reader. I don't think we should, either.


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