Re: RARA-AVIS: Goodis

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 02 Oct 2002

----- Original Message ----- From: "Robison Michael R CNIN" <>

> From SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER, I gather that Goodis has
> a three-prong approach to writing. First he makes you
> really empathize with the characters. Second, he makes
> you think that they might really get out of this mess
> OK. Third, hope is crushed beneath the heel of fate,
> and the most horrible depressing things happen to the
> characters you care most about.
> Great, ain't he? I've got my eye on THE BLONDE ON THE

Interesting observation, Mike. Take CASSIDY'S GIRL, for instance. The eponymous protagonist rapes his wife in the first chapter. You shouldn't care what happens to him, yet somehow you do. Goodis simply has an affinity for writing about losers. And, yes, he can certainly shovel on the grief.

Of his books currently in print I'd recommend DARK PASSAGE (despite the fact that some parts are very badly written, it's full of typical Goodis scenes - the one where the protagonist has a conversation with his dead mother is a classic), OF TENDER SIN and THE MOON IN THE GUTTER above BLONDE. Bottom line, though - they're all just different degrees of magnificent.

Anybody read SOMEBODY'S DONE FOR? I'm considering forking out for it next pay cheque.


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