RARA-AVIS: Parker, etc.

From: abc@wt.net
Date: 09 Oct 2001

I don't want to get too far off topic, but since the topic is Westlake's opinion of his own books, I guess what I have to say is relevant. My college degrees are in English, all the way through grad school. It's almost a cliche in those circles that the author is the worst critic of his own work. He's just the writer, not the interpreter.

As for writers remembering their own work, at a Bouchercon in San Francisco Robert B. Parker told the audience that he didn't know why they were asking him questions, since they knew a lot more about his books than he did.
 He wasn't kidding. The audience remembered his work in far more detail than he did. (I think Jim Doherty was part of that audience.)

My favorite story about finding things in a writer's work comes from Walt MacDonald, who once told Joseph Heller how clever Heller had been in making Major ___ de Coverley his symbol for God in CATCH-22. Heller looked over all MacDonald's points and said that everything fit and, although he'd never intended it, he certain planned to take credit for it from that point on.

Bill Crider

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