RE: RARA-AVIS: Parker Cliches

From: Anderson, Erick (ETW) (
Date: 09 May 2002

Hi Kevin (and all)

Partly my point was that here is a very successful author who has used a VERY familiar structure and story, time and again and sold tons of books around it. But to drill a bit deeper, re: cliches, I think a thing needs to be popularized before it's considered cliche. (If the butler always did it but no one was aware of the fact, would it still be cliche? If we all forgot every aspect of popular culture as soon as we were exposed to it, there would be no cliches. ) re: Parkers use of the aforementioned, I'm not begrudging Parker for popularizing the cliches, nor for making them palatable, nor even for selling a whopping number of books by it. I've read them all and for the most part enjoyed them, although I felt they were a little fluffy. IMO. For the rest, I think I understand you to be saying that Parker invented many of the cliches he employs. That's okay, but my point was that I feel that he recycles them a little too frequently, and it has made his later works a bit TOO familiar.

Best Regards, Erick


> As for Erick's comment that Parker's stuff is cliché­²idden? I dunno.
> Half the cliché³ Parker's always accused of, he popularized. He
> certainly took a few more chances with the form than a lot of his
> contemporaries. No, they weren't always successful innovations, but
> they sure were influential in the genre. So somebody must have liked
> them.

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