RARA-AVIS: Gold Medal Month -- THE DAMNED, GM R2052

From: Doug Bassett ( dj_bassett@yahoo.com)
Date: 04 Aug 2002

I have a few John D Macdonald's lying around -- four, exactly -- and thought this would be as good a time as any to read them. If my pace stays at a steady clip, that means one a weekend.


Summary -- Typical JDM plot, a bunch of people thrown together by fate, here by a ferry stalled in the middle of Mexico. All the representative JDM types are here: The Successful Businessman Who's Screwed Up With a Floozie; The Slut Well On Her Way To BecomingA Whore; The Brutally Violent Guy With Animalistic Qualities, and, of course, a typical JDM hero, The Unprepossessing But Still Quite Capable Masculine Ideal Guy.A few others, too, and they all bounce about in 174 pages.

Quick Review -- There's a school of thought that JDM did his best work in the non-McGees, but they seem pretty hit or miss to me. THE DAMNED strikes me as
"average", with some good characters (the Mexican politician, the ferry worker) mixing with some ridiculous ones (the small time Burlesque refugee), some wincingly bad writing (most everyone gets a backstory explaining their actions, and most everyone's backstory is awful in a dated Fifties parlor psychology kind of way)sitting cheek by jowl with some really fine writing (one character's death sequence is as good as anything JDM wrote).

Unexceptional, although it must've sold well -- my copy says "Over 2 million copies of this famous book in print!" Sure ain't no SOFT TOUCH, though


===== Doug Bassett dj_bassett@yahoo.com

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