Re: RARA-AVIS: An opinion of John D. MacDonald

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 06 Aug 2002

<<When we say MacDonald isn't appreciated, I think the original point was that he isn't mentioned with the Big Three, who, IMHO, aren't really that big anyway and there are others, like John D., who deserve more attention.>>

The problem with John D. is that he wrote so much --a lot of it very good indeed-- and yet he isn't identified with particular masterpieces (and movies), such as Hammett's
_Falcon_ and Chandler's _The Big Sleep_. The third of the Big Three is Willeford, right?

I do agree that his old paperbacks deserve new readers. Perhaps his constant irony doesn't sit well in an age dominated by the discourse of the help and self-help industries. Slapstick still sells, but irony is tough.

I wonder if John D.'s wicked irony was understood as such in the fifties, and I wonder the same about Prather. It could be that the superior technique of these writers, and their ability to create suspense and action, didn't blind the reader to their subtler virtues.



"The skill of man is unequal to the formation of a new man from old materials, but the battered tenement may, with care, be long sustained by props" -- From Becklard's Physiology.

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