Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Dr. Smith

From: Kerry (
Date: 09 Mar 2002

At 04:11 PM 3/9/02 -0500, you wrote:

>If you missed anything, Kerry, it was that in this situation, there
>wasn't any way to advance from addressing each others opinions. They were too
>far apart. If two people look at the same color and one sees black and the
>other sees white, they can note the differences, but there isn't much to
>discuss without doing extensive research, writing a couple of dissertations
>(and Neil's done with all that) and offering rebuttals.

Sorry Jim, I just don't buy it, but I think Paul's gotten more discussion about content since. And congrats on the copping the lambskin Neil.

I read William Kennedy's Roscoe a week or so back. Now there's a book about crime and corruption, with fascinating, contradictory characters, larger than life yet thoroughly credible. Sudden, unexpected violence that surprised but did not seem out of place or context. A period piece that had me making comparisons and looking for contrasts with current affairs. Hard as they come while heartbreakingly romantic.

I was thinking about it in terms of defining place. Simply dropping local place names that provide context for people who have been there is not enough. Kennedy does much better. I've spent ten minutes in Albany (train stop on my way to last fall's Bouchercon) but after reading Roscoe I have a sense of that city. Of course, it may be entirely inaccurate and is open to revision, but I now have a feel for the unique place where Kennedy took me for a visit. I don't think the same story could have been told, in the same way, anywhere else.

One small brick Kennedy used to established time was the title character's name. And I think some musical references, and not just ones I was familiar with, were used as well. Can't check it though, because I've loaned the book to a friend. But I encourage anyone to read Roscoe and tell me I'm wrong.


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