RE: RARA-AVIS: Zeltserman's In His Shadow

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 24 Oct 2002

Miker, I was referring to irony in the style, though in The Woman Chaser the content is also a send-up of all sorts of things, including Freudianism, Kafka, etc. The author is very much present, subtly pointing at things. That's my reading of the novel, which obviously can also be read as straight dark suspense.

In all of this, the reader is also a participant. A reader today has a different perspective from an original reader. In that sense, the reader makes the book as much as the author. We laugh at Bellem, but maybe pulp readers just saw a series of violent adventures.

A case in point from the movies: I remember reading that the homosexual couple (the cricket fans, Basil and his buddy whatshisname) in Hitchcock's thriller _The Lady Vanished_ was not seen as such by viewers in the thirties. What seems totally obvious to us was not seen then. Which is probably why Hitchcock, who did know, got away with it.

I have even been told that readers in the fifties were not very aware of Prather's sendup of the PI genre. They thought they were reading PI novels. They were, of course, but we don't call Prather a master because he wrote some thrilling PI novels with enticing tomatoes. His genius is his style.



"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." Mark Twain

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