Re: RARA-AVIS: Parker

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 09 Oct 2001

Well, Westlake is about as naive as a fox, so I usually pay attention when he says something. On the other hand, his business is writing and not interpreting what he writes. He may see something that pisses him off in his old books and yet the reader just reads it and enjoys it, blissfully unaware (clich頡lert).

By the way. Somebody wondered whether the Dortmunder books share something with the Parker books. I have been rereading (and completing) this series, so I would say that in it, Westlake exercises a wholly different set of muscles. These are the American equivalent of P.G. Wodehouse. Characters like Tiny Bulcher, Murch and Murch's Mom live in some sort of timeless fantasy land. While the series may not appeal to those looking for hardboiled kicks, I think it shows Westlake's genius (plotting, comic dialogue, timing) in all its considerable splendor (clich銊alert).

As I write this, I am thinking: it is time to enlarge the old Chandler + Hammett pantheon with some guys who are alive and going strong, such as Westlake (very particularly Westlake) and who have proved to be every bit as good as the old masters. I would include Block, Gores, Constantine, probably Elmore Leonard, in this group of seasoned guys who deserve the pantheon treatment. OK, make it Parnassus instead of pantheon, so that these fellows don't think we are giving up on them.




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