RARA-AVIS: Jonathan Yardley's wow of an article

From: Frederick Zackel ( fzackel@wcnet.org)
Date: 20 Jul 2002

Jonathan Yardley is an eminent critic/book reviewer at the Washington Post. His essay last Sunday giving an aerial view of American lit for the past 130 years is fascinating and thoughtful. One of his paragraphs worth perusing is as follows:

"It also is worth noting that some of the most interesting novels being written these days are not self-consciously literary but are what is commonly known (and often dismissed) as genre fiction. There is, for example, much first-rate writing in suspense fiction. W.T. Tyler's spy novels--the first, and best, being The Man Who Lost the War--compare favorably with John le Carre's, and the reputation of Alan Furst grows ever larger with each of his new novels in the same genre. The power elite in Washington is knowingly and mordantly portrayed in the highbrow thrillers of Charles McCarry, while the city's underside gets gritty treatment in the mysteries of George P. Pelecanos. There is no one writing about Los Angeles today with the acuity of the singular Raymond Chandler, though Walter Mosley gives it a good shot, but Detroit has Elmore Leonard, Baltimore has Laura Lippman, Miami has Carl Hiaasen (as previously it had the late Charles Willeford), and of course Boston had the late George V. Higgins. This is fiction devoid of pretension, yet it steps out into the world--not often the prettiest parts of it--and describes that world with intelligence, wit and tough love."

Check out the balance at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A57255-2002Jul11?language=printer

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