RE: RARA-AVIS: Recent reading: Big Blowdown

Date: 16 Sep 2001

Commenting favorably on The Big Blowdown, Bill Denton had one slight negative:

"The only thing I didn't like about it is due to personal taste: I'm not a fan of the use of small chunks of narrative sets years in the past to set up the later events. I like things more continuous."

I remember this modernist feature, which slows things. At the time I read the novel (couple years ago), I thought it was really shaped like a naturalistic family saga, but deliberately broken to mask that convention. The scope of Mr. Pelecanos' Washington is so large, so much more fully rendered than is typical of crime novels, that I wondered whether the plotline evolved as he wrote, towards a blowdown. However the plot was planned and written, it's a magnificent achievement.

Bill Hagen

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