Re: RARA-AVIS: A.I. Bezzerides, Long Haul/They Drive By Night

From: E.Borgers (
Date: 01 Sep 2005

I've read the book two years ago. I join you for your conclusions about it, but I can't remember if I saw the movie(s).

I will add that your comment of "sub Steinbeck" is totally justified, and personally I did not really enjoy this book. It seems a little bit artificial for an important part of it, and the bad luck replacing fate in this would be tragedy, seems to me as pushing it a little bit too much on the melodrama side. Even close tto the "roman ࠴h賥" ( type of novel assembled like a mechanical device wherein things have to happen, and is designed to allow them to happen, in order to prove something - the author's thesis- and not only illustrating it). Rest the realistic writing of many passages and the feeling of a gone era (for to day readers). I personally think that there are much more interesting American novels with social realism, than this one by Bezzerides.

Speaking of Steinbeck, I've always advocated that his "In Dubious Battle" (1936) is, besides being a great novel, a real noir novel, with HB elements. Our stuff.


William Denton wrote: (edited)

>A.I. Bezzerides is mentioned every now and then on the list. Looking back
>in the archives, I see that in January 2000 it was mentioned that George
>Pelecanos, in SHAME THE DEVIL, had a bad guy reading novels by Bezzerides
>and Edward Anderson. One Rik Joel Carter followed up to say he'd met
>Bezzerides the night before at a screening of two Bogart movies, THEY
>DRIVE BY NIGHT and SIROCCO. Bezzerides also wrote the film adaptation of
>THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT (1940) was adapated from LONG HAUL (1938), which I
>just read. It's very short, and I have an old Dell mapback edition that
>shows you where Nick, the truck-driving protagonist, hauls his stuff.
>In the book, though, he never does. He never gets any luck at all. It's
>a tough story, of the 1930s realist school, sub-Steinbeck.
>It's a fairly depressing book. The trucking stuff is all well done, and I
>certainly got a sense of the hard work it took and how bone tiring it was.
>It will appeal most to readers of trucking novels and fans of the movie
>adaptation, but it's also a good example of that school of 1930s tough,
>realist writing.

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