Re: RARA-AVIS: amoral noir/hardboiled protagonists

From: Jesse Willis (
Date: 29 Aug 2003

Given how interested Westlake is in fleshing out the psychology of the secondary characters in the Parker novels (he uses whole chapters to plumb their pysches) I think it might be interesting to view Parker as a extremely repressed individual. Parker as he thinks of himself isnt a fully human figure. He strives to be calculating, efficent and "robot-like". All the people around him are fully human, they have desires, interests and feel emotion. Parker can recognize those desires interest and values but has few of them himself. At least, he doesnt see himself as having them. The work he does is done in an effort to make himself feel as if he has a goal. What does he do with that money? He gets rid of it as fast as he can so he can go do more work. His feelings for Claire are supressed but he has them. In Deadly Edge he acts in ways only explainable by deep feeling. I wouldnt be at all surprised that if in the final Parker novel
(hopefully dozens of titles from now) that Parker finally breaks out of the repression of his feelings that he's felt since his wife shot him (before the first novel began). The cold-steely "self contained" character he seems must surely be a mask that he wears. Otherwise he's just a demented unfeeling whacko who pulls hesits like a serial killer murders people. I'm okay with that. But perhaps Westlake wouldnt be.

As for Westlake saying The Jugger was his worst novel I refer you all to the link below which sums up the concept far better than I could:


> As to Parker, I can't see him as a fully formed
> character.
> He has been given a perfect functional description
> by
> Stark, but besides planning and executing heists, I
> can't
> tell what he thinks or believes in, or why. That
> Westlake
> has succeeded time after time under such limitations
> is a
> miracle, a glowing example of the "show, don't tell"
> method.

===== SFFAudio:

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