Re: Re: Re: RARA-AVIS: Ellroy reviewd at Salon; Spillane still notdead

From: a.n.smith (
Date: 13 Jun 2001

> I will sooner read even a mediocre PI novel than a good book in another
> genre. Sometimes it takes a conscious effort just to expand that to
> other types of crime fiction, even as close as hardboiled and/or noir.
> And as much as I do still enjoy and get immersed in, as much as I get
> out of and am glad I have read "serious fiction," it sometimes requires
> an "appointment" for me to get started.
> That said, I am interested in that which pushes the edges of those
> conventions (one reason I think so much of James Sallis, for instance).
> In my mind, the best genre fiction offers a dialectic between convention
> and novelty.

I agree with the "pushing the edges" feeling here, and Jim is a good one to cite for this. Too bad the next Lew Griffin is the last one (so he says now...)

This discussion got me thinking about a recent article I saw in Boston Review by James Crumley, writing about how he learned about writing from Richard Yates, a well respected literary short story writer. Also reminds me how I've heard that Jon Jackson, Raymond Carver, and Thom Jones used to run around together when studying at Iowa's creative writing program. So, Crumley and Jackson started out without genre in mind, but found that crime fiction worked for them. Man, they've pushed the limits, certainly. Compare their work to Carver's and Yate's (and toss Andre Dubus in there, another rough and tumble writer who could break your heart with so few words). Good stuff.

Neil Smith

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