RARA-AVIS: Dark Passage by David Goodis (1946) & Thieves' Market by A.I. Bezzerides (1949)

From: Michael S. Chong ( menglish47@yahoo.com)
Date: 30 Dec 2002

Goodis's books have been described as being long suicide notes. His post-Hollywood paperback originals, set in an unnamed Philadelphia, are elegies of tragic lives with little to no redemption.

Dark Passage is different. More of a suspense novel, it is less bleak and poetic, but still a good yarn. An innocent man, framed for his wife's murder, escapes from prison, alters his appearance through surgery and sets out to clear his name.

Goodis, in his last few years, litigated the producers of the TV show The Fugitive for plagiarizing Dark Passage and won a settlement.

I had held back on reading Dark Passage after seeing the Bogart film on late-night cable. The film employed a camera-as-first-person perspective for the first twenty minutes until the bandages came off revealing Bogart's mug.

Dark Passage, serialized in The Saturday Evening Post before being published as a hardcover, was Goodis's entrance into Hollywood. After three years as a Warner Brothers screenwriter, he left and wrote paperback originals including Down There, Cassidy's Girl, Street of No Return, and The Burglar.

A.I. Bezzerides also worked as a screenwriter. Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly comes to mind.

In the back of my Bantam paperback of Thieves' Market, it is listed as a "novel" twelve numbers down from Kenneth Fearing's The Big Clock, which is listed as a

Thieves' Market reminded me of proletariat fiction like the Fruit Tramp story in the Hardboiled anthology. Set in the world of produce truckers, Thieves' Market depicts a world where everyone is out for themselves and willing to do anything for a buck. A man uses his late father's insurance money to buy a truck and try to work his way up, hauling produce loads, to owning his own fleet. An American Dream he shared with his father who died before ever realizing it. Thinking back on the story, no one, not even his own mother, deals fair and straight with the entrepreneur. Just con men and women looking to work an angle on him. With all his money invested in his first haul, his situation grows increasingly desperate as he tries to get to the market.

Who knew all the trouble to get us an apple a day? Another great read introduced to me by Rara Avis. After I finish Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (fits the HB definitions?), I plan on reading Bezzerides's The Long Haul (AKA They Drive By Night).


__________________________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now. http://mailplus.yahoo.com

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# majordomo@icomm.ca.  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 30 Dec 2002 EST