Re: RARA-AVIS: 1974

From: Michael Robison (
Date: 05 Jul 2006

Ed Lynskey wrote:

Ouch. I haven't read anything by Mr. Peace. Maybe not now. Is this title a fairly typical one for him?

*************** You'd better not rely on my opinion, Ed. I think that in other posts he has been well-received. I try to be receptive, and in reading, besides just good entertainment, I'm usually looking for some statement of truth. Not reality, but truth. A lot of that depends on how you choose to look at a work. I like some of Spillane because I see a mythic avenging angel in Hammer, and behind that myth, I see truth. 1974 rang false in too many ways for me to buy in. The corruption covering up horrible child murders, the police abuse of the protagonist and his subsequent release, and his superman ability to go on despite several brutal beatings and torture were too much to swallow.

Also, although I'm not one to stand up and applaud every time another movie star comes out of the closet, there is a wicked streak of anti-homosexuality in 1974 that is a little disconcerting. Mark has mentioned that when everyone in Ellroy's work seems to share the same prejudice, it makes him start to wonder about the author's intentions. Although I don't personally see that in Ellroy, I have never seen it more strongly present in another work than 1974. Spillane ain't even in the game.


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