Re: RARA-AVIS: Jose Latour in Globe & Mail

From: Karin Montin (
Date: 13 Mar 2006


In giving just the bare bones of the article, I guess I left the wrong impression. The piece is part of a series in which a well-known writer is asked to recommend three books on a theme. This week's theme was inspired by the big heist in England last week or the week before.

Latour is not indignant about violence in literature; in fact he doesn't say that much about it, except "Most people strongly repudiate violent crime, some to the point they can't finish In Cold Blood."

He actually talks more about the contrast between fictional and real-life crime. For instance, how in books/movies "the robbers are nice, good-looking guys and the wronged ... despicable bastards," with the result that "When a really big, honest-to-goodness, multimillion-dollar caper takes place, many of us experience both admiration and discomfiture." To me it seems like he's saying that fictional violence is minimized, if anything.

He concludes that most people enjoy books/movies where the robbers get away with it, and may even root for real-life thieves who get away without killing or injuring anyone. "But when they learn about criminal ats in which innocent adults or children are maltreated, tortured or murdered, they resolutely side with the law. That is reassuring."

Then he ends with the question quoted below, which seems kind of tacked on, somehow.


At 03:17 PM 12/03/2006 -0800, miker wrote:

>Karin Montin noted Latour's question:
>Have novelists, screenwriters and directors
>excessively glorified and glamorized crime?
>Kind of makes it sound like a question of a
>contemporary nature, doesn't it? It is. Very
>fashionable nowadays to be indignant about violence in
>literature. Violence, and lots of it, has been a
>literary staple since its beginning.

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