RE: RARA-AVIS: Recently read - Washington D.C.

From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 06 Dec 2001

i've got a comment on the sweet forever. first i should mention that i claim the right to read whatever i want to into a book, regardless of the author's intentions. so much for disclaimers...

most everybody in the book are elbows deep in crime and greed and drugs and hate and just plain nastiness. and although they have to keep an eye on their backs to watch for the next knife, EVERYBODY has their eye on the playoffs. i think they were all worshipping at the basketball altar. i don't mean that in a bad way. the playoffs were viewed as something separated from the ugly world they all inhabited. the playoffs were a world where you knew who stood behind you. a world where a single person could make a difference. a world where a person could rise above the stink and slime and filth of the streets. a world where you could be a hero.
(whoa, yeah, baby! gimme that pulpit!)

and i think thats why len's overdose death at the end is so tramatic. its not just one person's death. senseless death and drugs have come to basketball... its just as dirty as the rest of the world. its the death of hope and faith, and the belief in something better.

beautifully done. inspiring. uh... elegant???

my apologies, george.



THE SWEET FOREVER - Again this is by George Pelecanos. It is the view of those who must live within the city permanently as opposed to Hagerty's from the distance of its suburbs. As in 'Devil' there are constant references to music. The two previous Pelecanos novels were set in the
'90's. As I stopped paying attention to popular music in the '80's the music references annoyed me. This book is set in 1986 so I caught a few. When I read George's books set in earlier times I should know virtually all of them.

Late in the book the quote, "when the legend becomes fact, print the legend" is mentioned but never attributed to its source. I had just given that quote to my son when were discussing the movie from which it came. Most novels would have done so. The novel is set at the time of the NCAA final four. Len Bias is mentioned throughout yet his fate is only hinted at. .I think George feels he is not responsible to explain anything. He puts in what he feels is relevant. It's up to the reader to investigate something he does not know.

I did not like Suckerman, but these two novels caused me to want to read the rest. I will have to treat them as I do the books of British fantasy novelist, Tom Holt or Canadian author, Mordecai Richler. I know I miss a few references that would cause me to enjoy their work even further, but I what I do understand is easily enough to cause me seek out and read their books. Mark

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