RARA-AVIS: Raw Food For Thought

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 02 Oct 2003

In discussing Rob Kantner's Ben Perkins series, Ed wrote:

>There are things I like about the first books by authors,
>including George Pelecanos, Bill Pronzini, and Ross Macdonald.
>That doesn't detract from my joy in reading their later stuff by
>any means but there's a certain edginess and raw quality that
>others here have described better I can.

Except that by the time of Ben's novel length debut, he'd already appeared in a dozen or so short stories. So I wonder if the rawness is on the writer's or the reader's part? Do we attribute more
"rawness" to writers merely because at the time we're unfamiliar with them?

If Playback, for example, were the first Marlowe book Chandler wrote instead of the last, would it be praised for its freshness and original voice, and then every subsequent book held up to it?

And what about long running series? What would a reader unfamiliar with their previous work think of new Nameless, Spenser or Warshawski books? Or Nero Wolfe or Lew Archer?

Granted, a writer evolves over time, but for a reader, does familiarity breed not contempt, but just familiarity?


Kevin Burton Smith Got game? The Thrilling Detective P.I. Trivia Challenge is waiting. http://www.thrillingdetective.com -- # Plain ASCII text only, please. Anything else won't show up. # 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/ .

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