Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Name Your Poison

From: david david (
Date: 31 Aug 2006

thanks Mark. I look forward to reading Bruen. I recognize that there are different forms of nonsense/absurdity/randomness--supernatural, surreal, the "aburdity of real life" (Willeford sometimes seems that way), and even the postmodern form (Bartheleme, for one). To paraphrase that Wilde quote: it's not whether or not writing is absurd, it's whether or not the absurd writing is good.

But i also agree with your & Kevin's point that contrivance is usually indicative of laziness. When i read a plot element that seems annoyingly contrived, i tend to wonder if it felt that way to the author. i.e. is artificial writing a willingness to settle for a contrivance or is it an inability to sniff out one's own b.s.?

--- wrote:

> David wrote:
> "i haven't read Bruen, but this sounds kind of like
> what i was getting
> at when i said that certain authors sometimes make
> good sense of
> nonsense. i am thinking of books like A Wild Sheep's
> Chase by Murakami,
> for one, or anything by Steve Erickson for another,
> though these books
> aren't strictly noir."
> Bruen isn't really comparable to these two. There
> is no sense of the
> supernatural, as with Murakami, or the surreal, as
> with Erickson (well,
> maybe a touch of the surreal, I could certainly see
> one of these books
> featuring Breton's gun being shot into a crowd).
> There are no sci-fi
> elements at all. The Brant novels are definitely
> set in this world.
> It's just that the characters are sometimes larger
> than life and the
> situations are sometimes on the absurd side, but the
> absurdity of real
> life -- there is little of the imposed structure
> that Kevin recently
> described fiction as having. Yes, the reader is
> told the solution of
> whatever the given crime is in a partcular book
> (even if the cops might
> not solve it, a killer being randomly killed before
> being caught, or
> moving away, etc), but the crime is not the real
> appeal, but the
> characters and the instituion in which they work.
> The crime is just an
> excuse to set these characters into action.
> Like Chris, I'm usually with Kevin in wanting
> structured fiction, that
> randomness is usually just a excuse for sloppiness,
> but Bruen is one of
> the few that can make it work. His Brant series is
> pretty near unique.
> Mark

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