Re: RARA-AVIS: Gil Brewer

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 19 Aug 2002

----- Original Message ----- From: "Robison Michael R CNIN" <>
> As far as skipping certain ones, I've read the Rabe and Thomp-
> son essays in MURDER OFF THE RACK, and it's comments on some of
> them being VERY bad has made me leery. I'm a really big fan of
> Hemingway, but I've never made it thru ACROSS THE RIVER AND INTO
> THE TREES, and I ain't losing no sleep over it, either. ;-)

I've just finished Goodis's NIGHT SQUAD - which is reputed to be one of his weaker efforts. I've come to discover that once I've read and enjoyed three or four novels by a given writer, I'll enjoy the majority (probably all) of his work. Maybe it's a kind of lack of expectation on my part. That's certainly the case here. I just wanted to read some Goodis and NIGHT SQUAD is quintessential Goodis. Who else would get away with a totally sane protagonist conversing with his police badge, or use a tie to symbolise a woman? The tie is fairly subtle, and it uses Goodis's favourite trick: colour.

This is how Goodis's tie works:

Step 1: associate woman (Lita) with colour (green) "dark green eyes",
"green silk halter" Step 2: reinforce association by having Lita's husband compare a similarly coloured object (car) to a woman: "a six-passenger custom-made sedan, dark green", "He stepped back, inspected his work and said to the car, "You doll. You sweetheart."" Step 3: Lita is now firmly associated with the colour green. For the protagonist, who fancies her, this is what it was leading up to: "There were four neckties dangling from a nail on the inside of the closet door. He reached for the dark green one, got it under the shirt collar, started to tie it, and then realised what colour it was. You don't want that colour, he told himself. He pulled off the dark green tie and put it back on the nail. For some moments he stood looking at it. What's all this see-saw routine? he wondered, and tried to back away from it, thinking, It's just that you don't like that colour - He snatched the dark green tie and quickly slipped it under his collar and knotted it."

How can you not love it?


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