Re: RARA-AVIS: cases by gores & 32 Caddies

From: William Denton (
Date: 15 Jul 2002

On 15 July 2002, Ed Poe wrote:

: I found the six or eight or however many view points Gores used to be
: jarring, interrupting the flow of the story. Also, while he was
: certainly likeable, the dialogue from the character who had the speech
: impediment was incredibly disruptive.

I thought 32 CADILLACS was great. I think Gores is really good with the large cast of characters (and the cons, and humour, and action, and tension), and it shows in MENACED ASSASSIN, too, which was recommended on the list and I read last week.

MENACED ASSASSIN has the Gores style, but he does something different this time, too: he fractures the narrative across two years, and tells it in three interwoven streams. There's the story of how a man's ex-wife is killed and what happens afterwards, there's a lecture given by the man which takes place about 18 months later, and there's commentary by an assassin. The assassin talks about events in the first stream, and the second stream is split up into chunks and runs through the book until the first stream catches up with it. At the same time, whenever Gores wants to explain more about a character's past, he diverts the first stream off into the past to explain how a gangster got into the mob, how a Greek shipping magnate got his start, or anything else. The effect was that Gores was almost telling the story all at once, all times collapsed, and it was just the fact it was a book that meant he had to order the events.

There are lots of different points of view in the book, but I liked the way he jumped from one to the other, always pushing forward, never letting it flag, but never resorting to cheap cliff-hanging techniques.

NOTE: If you haven't read MENACED ASSASSIN, watch out for spoilers if someone else is talking about it.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : : Caveat lector.

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