RARA-AVIS: Charyn & an awful telemovie

From: Rene Ribic ( rribic@optusnet.com.au)
Date: 01 Oct 2002

> Jerome Charyn: MARILYN THE WILD - Don't know to what extent this is a
> procedural. It certainly features cops, but it never grabbed my
> Couldn't finish it.

I've had a similar experience to Al re: trying to read Charyn. I know that this guy is held in high regard by at least some (particularly in France, I believe) but I found it very hard to get past the very beginning of whichever one I tried to read. I'll give him a try another time, maybe, although his books have slipped way down Mt To-Be-Read. It hasn't helped any viewing a made for TV movie based on one of his books that made me squirm all the way through. I know, TV adaptation - but this was produced & written, IIRC, by Charyn. The lead character, Isaac
(?) was an insufferable boor of a Jewish New Yorker ubermensch Police Commissioner who apparently single-handedly takes care of most of New York's major policing problems, especially those involving shoot-outs. I've heard talk of this guy being something of a "magical realist" but if the telemovie is evidence, it's more that he either ignores reality or ain't very good at approximating it. The telemovie at least (& I have to think it's a reasonably accurate translation of the book)was, IMO, preposterous. As a police procedural, from memory (it was on tele about 1 year ago), the procedures go generally like this. NY's finest are at a siege. They are bamboozled. Along comes Isaac. Isaac solves the problem. Mortals gaze in awe, cops grumble unappreciatively, though some shoot sneaking glances of admiration. Isaac does a sound bite for the media then has dinner with his glamorous girlfriend. That's as close to procedure as I recall. Of course, that's not a bad thing in itself, necessarily but you expect a novel about "cops" (I understand the Commish had started as a cop & worked his way up) to have some semblance, some nod to, the real world. Then again, maybe I've got it wrong. Maybe in New York that's how policing is done. It doesn't seem likely, though. Maybe I'll give Charyn another try when this telemovie has faded from my memory (after all, my copies of his work are in the Zomba Black Box Thriller anthology, so Maxim Jakubowsky has placed him in company with Jim Thompson, David Goodis, Horace McCoy, W R Burnett & Cornell Woolrich. Also, Allison & Busby reprinted some of his books in the same "serie noire" that reprinted the Richard Stark, Chester Himes & Ross Macdonald books). It'll be quite a while, though. Rene

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