RARA-AVIS: Re: THE LIGHT OF DAY

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 23 Jan 2004


Chris wrote:

>The Light of Day by Graham Swift: I was disappointed with this one, which is
>not at all hard boiled, but is about a private eye. I canÝ┤ásay more without
>creeping into spoiler territory, so consider yourself warned. It is a
>first-person narrative of a day in the life of a Wimbledon P.I. I enjoyed
>this book to a point because the writing and plot structure reminded me a
>bit of Joan DidionÝ│áLatin America novels and a bit of Thomas CookÝ│ámid-90s
>novels (all books and reread a number of times). Thus, the whole set-up of
>the book left me expecting a big twist toward the end and there was nothing,
>just the end of day. I know that that was probably the point, but I was
>hoping for more.

I had the exact opposite reaction. No, it's not truly hard-boiled, but anyone who's read much HBt, or is a big Hammett fan might get a kick out of it, since in some ways it picks up on the situation where THE MALTESE FALCON leaves off. And I'm convinced it's deliberate -- some of the dialogue even echoes Hammett.

Imagine the life of Spade waiting for Bridgid to get out, a sort of stream-of-consciousness commentary as Spade goes to see Bridgid on visiting day in the slammer. No shoot-em-ups or any real sort of action, but I found this character study fascinating. It's like a long, drawn-out look at the works.

Hmmm... I wonder what Swift looks like in a bikini?

-- 

Kevin Burton Smith The 2003 Cheap Thrill Awards are back. Vote now, vote often -- for the best in P.I. Fiction. http://www.thrillingdetective.com
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