Re: RARA-AVIS: a few items and the short goodbye

From: Kerry (
Date: 21 Feb 2002

At 05:03 PM 2/20/02 -0500, you wrote:
>Regarding all the negative comments on SUMMER OF FEAR, it might be helpful
>to note that Jeff Parker's first wife, Cat (to whom the book was dedicated)
>died of brain cancer during the writing of the novel. In the book (which I
>reviewed for the Washington Post), Parker makes some interesting connections
>between serial killers and cancer, implying that these random murderers are
>both manifestations of the anti-Christ. I don't know how Parker found the
>guts to tackle the subject matter in SUMMER OF FEAR as his wife was dying.
>He deserves some credit for going there, and for exploring inherent
>spiritual issues in a genre that tends to ignore them.

I can't speak to SUMMER OF FEAR or Parker specifically, but it does seem to me that this bit of background serves to suggest a potential weakness in the book. Linking serial killers and cancer in our collective psyche is interesting, but having linked them, the implication that random death is evil and anti-Christian is, though understandable given Parker's circumstances, thoroughly conventional. Death is not only inevitable, but essential to our world, and the notion that its timing could be anything but random reflects the human attempt to impose order where none exists, or is beyond our ability to comprehend. To be meaningful, issues of spirituality and morality need to recognize human limitations, and the possibility that evil often results from our tendency to overreach. Rather than ignoring the issue, I believe much of our genre makes that point evident.


------------------------------------------------------ Literary events Calendar (South Ont.) The evil men do lives after them

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