RARA-AVIS: Parker on Stereotypes: Intentions vs. Results

From: Gerald So ( gso@optonline.net)
Date: 15 Nov 2001

As Kevin wrote, Parker's original intent was to blow stereotypes wide open. Spenser himself is a bundle of contradictions: a tough guy who cooks, an intellectual gym rat, an enlightened grunt.

But as Kerry points out, Parker's intent can get lost in the execution. Notably in late books--as Parker has repeated himself in plot and description--the racial banter, too, seems inserted TO SHOW YOU Hawk is more than a masai warrior/jive turkey; TO SHOW YOU Susan can talk dirty. This going-through-the-motions feel carries over, making Parker's once-insightful banter sound hollow.

To answer Kerry's question, Hawk was always articulate. In PROMISED LAND, Spenser comments that sometimes Hawk sounds like a Merrill-Lynch rep and sometimes he sounds like Br'er Bear. But since Parker has flipped the switch so many times, there's no juice left. Not that I'm sounding Spenser's death knell. I just wish Parker would put the oomph, the snap, the kick, what have you, back into his writing.


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