From: Bill Bowers ( BBowers@one.net)
Date: 22 Mar 2003

<-----------Original Message----------->
>Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2003 16:05:33 -0500
>From: "Michael Robison" < zspider@gte.net>
>Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: RE: John Williams review
>JT Lindroos responded to my COUNT TO CADENCE question:
> > Nope. That's the "literary" Vietnam War novel, his first. It's very much
> > worth a read as well.
>Thanks JT. The word "literary" as a descriptive term for a novel always
>scares me. I figure it'll be to artsy for me to understand. Nevertheless,
>I still plan on getting around to it.

I meant to jump in on this yesterday, but....

In this case, I think the term "literary" is definitely, and unfairly, pejorative.

The novel starts out, at Clark Field (the P.I.) in the early 60s, and moves onto Vietnam. I don't know about any others, but to those like me -- who, as a veteran* -- consider the most accurate and "realistic" "war" movies to be CATCH.22 and M*A*S*H, rather than the more graphic award winners ... well, I think you'd love this book.

It is farce, but unrelenting, un-apologetic dark take-no-prisoners-farce, and totally shreds any vestiges of The Glorys of War. I don't know where it would fit in anyone's definition of either "hard-boiled" or "noir" -- but lot's of folks (including the surprisingly 'heroic' protagonist) do get Royally Screwed....

(...and tattooed.)

Okay, I'm slightly prejudiced in that, half a decade after Crumley, I
_enjoyed_ Clark AFB for 17 months, and could pick up on locations, and tropes that rang true. But I put this, along with Joe Haldeman's fist
(non-sf) novel, WAR YEAR, and the first volume of Willeford's
'autobiography set' (much earlier than even Crumley, before it was an Air Force base, he also Spent Time there), in a special category, on my shelves.

Not to be presumptive, but I really have no idea of how any of these would read to one without military experience, but I do recommend the Crumley to anyone who enjoyed the two films I cited.

All that aside, yes, I quite agree: THE LAST GOOD KISS is Crumley's tour de force, and anyone who wants to maintain any hard-boiled cred at all ... should read it!

Bill Bowers
         * A loaded term, and one I still have trouble thinking of myself 
of under that specific label.

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