RE: RARA-AVIS: RE: Soul Circus

From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 25 Mar 2003

Craig wrote: I read _Soul Circus_ last week and while I enjoyed it, I couldn't help but feel that there was a certain sameness to the book that has been there in a lot of Pelecanos' recent work. He's almost writing the same book, over and over--It's not as bad as James Lee Burke yet, but he's getting there.

************ The thing I wonder about in his books is the era-specific references and the frequency of them. To an extent, it parallels the social history novels I've read by O'Hara, Heath, and Gores, with one critical shortcoming. Those other books open up an era you didn't live in and make it come alive. Unless you are already familiar with what Pelecanos is talking about, the music he mentions tells you nothing. It's like an insider joke.

It damages shelf life. Maybe he's writing for the present and doesn't care how it will read in 30 years.


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