Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: The Chill by Ross Macdonald

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 21 Jan 2006

Jim de Rochester wrote:

> A similar/related scenario also plays itself out in THE WYCHERLY WOMEN ...
> where a daughter masquerades as her mother precipitating a freudian-esque
> case
> of mstaken identity. It would seem that that this was something MacDonald
> was
> attempting to "work out" in his fiction.
> Also, in his introduction to THE CHILL (in one of the omnibus editions
> containing that work ... can't reall offhand which one??) MacDonald
> referred to THE
> CHILL as a "basilisk" of a book. The OED defines basilisk as: "a mythical
> reptile with a lethal gaze or breath hatched by a serpent from a cock's
> egg."
> Mistaken identity/identity crises all around ... apparently all of this
> was going
> thru the auhtor's mind. How related to his marriage, who knows. MacDonald,
> from little I know about him, was a compex guy .. probably why his fiction
> has
> the psychological depth it has.

MacDonald worked out a lot of his personal stuff in his books. He had abandonment issues from being shunted around to other relatives by overwhelmed and uncaring parents during his childhood, and these got played out in a variety of scenarios in such classics as THE WYCHERLY WOMAN, THE GALTON CASE, BLACK MONEY, just to name a few.

As for the "basilisk" remark, it's interesting that he termed in a
"basilisk," and not a "chimera."

All the Best-

Brian Thornton

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 21 Jan 2006 EST