Re: RARA-AVIS: Still some thoughts on characters

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 30 Oct 2001


<<I've liked Ed McBain's, Ben Benson's and Collin Wilcox's police procedurals, even though there are no deep characterizations.>>

I have not read Benson, but I know the work of McBain and Wilcox very well. Why do you say their characterizations aren't "deep"? True, neither of them has created as powerful a character as, say, Mario Balzic or Easy Rawlins, but that doesn't mean that their characters are cartoons or dummies.

I am beginning to suspect a forked path here: some readers consider that the character is real if it speaks *to them*, whereas others prefer characters that speak *to the story*. Because I am distant by nature, I prefer the second kind
(but not exclusively, else I would have to throw Balzic and much else out the window).

[Captain Bill, please look the other way:]

Speaking of bloated versus spare narrative styles, let me recommend a masterpiece I saw the other day on video. It's called An Affair of Love (Une liaison d'amour) and could serve as a corrective model for writers who have gotten bloated. Outstanding performances by Nathalie Baye and Sergi Lopez.





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