Re: RARA-AVIS: reverse of the cliche

Date: 08 May 2002


Re your comment below:

> As for ONE LONELY NIGHT, my pet theory about that
> book
> is that the first chapter is brilliant, maybe the
> best
> piece of writing Spillane ever did. (The whole
> "walking across the bridge in the rain" bit.) It
> should have been published as a stand-alone short
> story. Unfortunately the rest of the novel is pretty
> lame and dated, the worst of Spillane's first run.
> But
> that first chapter is a killer.

Here I have to disagree. I think Spillane sustained the mood in ONE LONELY NIGHT throughout the whole book extraordinarily well. Far from being the worst of the first run, I think it's the best, not only of the first run, but of the whole corpus.

Oddly, I had something similar to your reaction
("great opening chapter - lousy book") to I, THE JURY.
 I think the first chapter is great; I think the closing chapter is the best rewrite of the last chapter of THE MALTESE FALCON ever done. But what goes on in-between is pretty hard going.

Different strokes.


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