Re: RARA-AVIS: Themes of the Months

From: Joy Matkowski (
Date: 04 Aug 2002

Colin, you are so right about Derek Raymond and his books. _He Died With His Eyes Open_ is stunning and, as you say, compassionate. He's got a comprehending heart for all of humanity, and even the most tangential character has a defining and individuating phrase or sentence. I liked the book so much that instead of next reading another new-to-me British author I opened _The Crust on Its Uppers._ Unless somebody gives me a pep talk, I'm going to put it aside at page 21. It's written 20 years earlier. It's full of rhyming slang, past what even the glossary could help, which gets tedious fast.

Joy, now faced with the enviable task of picking the next Britnoir author to try

>Colin said:
> Derek Raymond. He is sadly out of print in the UK (apart from a couple of
> atypical titles from Serpeant's Tail - The Crust On Its Uppers, which is
> early novel written under his own name of Robin Cook and comes nowhere
> his later heights. And, A State of Denmark, which although I think is a
> strong work probably shouldn't be classed under HB - it's a dystopian
> political piece.)
> However. Should you be able to get hold of any of his Factory series, you
> should.
> Dead Man Upright, He Died With His Eyes Open (my favourite), The Devil is
> Home on Leave, How the Dead Live, and most famously; I Was Dora Suarez. He
> wrote other titles that are similar, Not Till The Red Fog Rises, is the
> one I have read.
> I know I have carped on and on about Raymond but I think he is my
> author, and the most compassionate writer I have ever read. I Was Dora
> has won the most attention of his work, I think largely because it is so
> disturbing. As I say above I think, HDWHEO, is better. The "hero" of the
> Factory series is the nameless Sgt in the Department of Unexplained
> based at Poland Street police station in Soho - The Factory. I find his
> moving in the extreme. They are by no means procedurals - probably
> innacurate. Raymond's autobiograpical musings - The Hidden Files, are very
> illuminating and can tell you more about his work - which he calls the
> Novel, than I ever could. I rate him with Chandler and Hammett and Ellroy.

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