Re: RARA-AVIS: Motherless Brooklyn

From: Michael Robison (
Date: 16 Aug 2003

Charlie wrote: I hate to open up the old definitions debate again, but Motherless Brooklyn is hardly hardboiled. The central character is a twitching mass of confusion and desperate need - which is good, but hardly makes for hardboiled. Personally I thought it was a trifle overlong. Decent novel though, one of those ones that just had to be written.

************ That "tough and colloquial" definition can handily be applied to a straightforward and unsentimental writing style when there aren't any really rough and tough characters. Vin Packer can be placed in this category along with John O'Hara.

But to be honest, I would say that Lionel is indeed pretty darned tough. He's persistent even in the face of danger, isn't he? I'd call that tough. I don't think a character needs to be a macho shitkicker to qualify as hardboiled.

And never hesitate to bring up the definitions debate. It's always worth a go.


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