Re: RARA-AVIS: Bastard child

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 26 Feb 2004

Jim wrote:

"Do I think of the Lew Griffin novels as crime novels? Well, yes...and no. The whole idea of those books was to create a new kind of novel, something that combined the delights of crime fiction, what I love about it, with the delights of "literary" fiction. I'd estimate that about half my readers see them as simply novels, the other half as mysteries or crime novels. Then there are those who find them unsettling and too in-between, neither fish nor fowl...."

Personally, I have often found the Lew Griffin novels unsettling and in-between (though not too in-between), but in a good way. The first book or two are as close as they come to coloring within the lines of genre, but even there, the crayons tend to slip outside quite a bit. In the last two, they are not only outside lies, but off the page, coloring on the table and floor. That is not to say the books are unfocused, not at all, just that they have spun far from the conventions of crime fiction. I've already mentioned that Ghost of a Flea has made me think of Jack O'Connell for its refusal to be bound. However, it also reminds me of the relaxed southern style of Barry Gifford and others, where there is always time to stop for someone to tell a story, great stories, related to the plot or not. And, of course, it jibes (or maybe jives might be more approriate to the book's rhythm) very well with various theories of post-modern storytelling (though, thankfully not tied to a specific dogma).

I finished Ghost of a Flea, and it was even better than I was already thinking it was (topping even my high estimation of Cricket). The frame really drew everything together quite nicely and makes me want to go back and read the series all over again. I don't want to give anything away to anyone who has not yet read it, but I'm curious, at what point in writing the series did you start thinking in terms of that frame?


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 26 Feb 2004 EST