Re: RARA-AVIS: geography guiding plot?

From: M Blumenthal (
Date: 29 Nov 2001

Carrie Pruet

> Mark wrote:
> <<. I'd be curious if there are crime novels that make
> >strong use of a city's geography to guide plot >>
> Lehane's "Mystic River," though strictly speaking dealing with an
> neighborhood is very much about the tension between old and new in a
> changing city. I don't see this much in his other books, except "A drink
> before the war," where Patrick's crossing into Roxbury (the "black"
> at least as laid out in the book) has a lot of significance to the racial
> geography and tensions in the story.
Carrie, Lehane would be a bad example of an author who has the geography guide the plot as he may change the geography to fit his purposes. Thst is why he felt he had to invent Mystic River so he could have the town's layout just as he pleased with no concern for the geographic constraints. In his Boston places are where they should be in his mind and not necessarily where they actually are.

Indeed, Roxbury is now considered the center of 'Black Boston', but the borders between it and Dorchester, which Lehane writes of, are not distinct. It's the people not the geography that would most who most determine where you are. Mark.

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