RARA-AVIS: social commentary/Mighty Johns

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 12 Jul 2002

>This is really a discussion about good writing and poor writing. If >it
>comes off as a narrative stopping polemic, it's bad writing, ><snip>The
>politics and social commentary in all of the writing of George Pelecanos,
>and George Higgins and Walter Mosely and Manuel >Ramos (and in Dennis
>Lehane's "A Drink Before The War") is woven >through the story because it
>is part of the story. Some folks never >even notice that it is there.
>Jim Blue

Lehane is one of my favorites, but I do think "A Drink before the War" is a classic example of polemic overwhelming story. I enjoy the hell out of that book, but there's plenty of social-commentary digression that's clearly the author rather than the character speaking. Contrast "Mystic River," where he gets in his views on gentrification and child abuse and and white-boy rap but frames them in terms of character and story.

By the way, I saw that football-themed Penzler anthology that Baldacci sued over in the store the other day. I guess they settled it either by giving DB more money or making his name smaller on the cover. It's called "The Mighty Johns" (am I the only one who thinks that sounds like gay porn? I've got nothing particular against gay porn, I just don't know that that's what they were going for -) It's got stories by Block ("The Ehrengraf Reverse"), Crumley ("Semi-Pro"), and Lehane ("Gone down to Corpus"), among others
(including some seemingly weird choices like Peter Robinson - is it Canadian football? - and Anne Perry - Victorian football?). I don't know if they're all new or not, but I noticed it because Lehane hasn't published many shorts that I know of. Anybody seen this book and can comment on the quality?


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