Re: RARA-AVIS: Does size matter? (was Best films: Smith and all)

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 12 Nov 2001

Size doesn't matter. I've just finished (yet another) superb Carl Wilcox novel by Harold Adams, which tells the story in about 200 pages, which feels absolutely right. There's no padding, no secondary characters that don't serve a purpose, no unnecessary subplots.

On the other hand, some great books are long, even incredibly long. I don't think the late William Gaddis
(there's a Nobel the US didn't get...) could write short novels. In the hardboiled genre, Ellroy, Pelecanos and T. Jefferson Parker have written books that are long simply because they are ambitious.

On yet another hand, Gaddis wrote only five books, which, using Jerry Healy's reasoning, shouldn't make him as worthy as, say, Updike or Oates. Should Philip Roth be more worthy of attention than Henry Roth? I find this reasoning specious. Maybe we should explore the Chandler-Parker kinship (and the corresponding differences) without measuring their, their output...




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