RARA-AVIS: Sallis and the immobilized man

From: Michael Robison ( miker_zspider@yahoo.com)
Date: 05 Feb 2004

Mario Taboada wrote: I think I've read and enjoyed everything by Sallis; in my opinion, the author he most resembles is Albert Camus. His tool is showing the introspection of a struggling protagonist in an ugly and hostile urban setting. Few of his characters are dumb or vicious. However, almost all of them are desperate.

A great realist writer, if by reality we mean psychological reality.

************ Your comment about the demeanor of Sallis' characters not being dumb or vicious is interesting in respect to his choice of authors in DIFFICULT LIVES. Goodis' piano player is the same way in SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER, and I believe that most of Himes' characters were too, especially before the Harlem series. I'm not so sure about Thompson; his most famous character is way bad, but I'm not certain about the others. Doc is ruthless in THE GETAWAY.

Willeford's extended essay "The Immobilized Man" does a good job of discussing the Sallis/Himes/Goodis character and the world he lives in.


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