RARA-AVIS: Re: Pop. 1280

From: Dave Zeltserman ( dz@hardluckstories.com)
Date: 19 Jul 2007


I've read all of Thompson, and they're all worth reading--even Nothing More Than Murder which is a somewhat clunky James M. Cain- like noir novel. His books fall into the following categories--psycho noir, standard noir, literary/crime novels where the hero perserveres, conman oriented, semi-autobiographical and two early Faulkner-like novels, Heed the Thunder and Now and on Earth, which are very good. My favorites of his pure noir, including Pop. 1280 are:

Hell of a Woman, Savage Night, Swell-Looking Babe, The Getaway (you got to read it again--the ending is just so damn brilliant) and After Dark, My Sweet. All of these are must-reads. Hell of a Woman is probably my favorite.

A collection of his shorts in "This World, then the Fireworks" is also very good, which includes his Mitch Allison stories which are a lot of fun and "Forever After", which in my opinion should be taught to every college creative writing class. What Thompson does in what's probably less than 2000 words is remarkable. It's as perect a noir short story as I've ever come across.

I agree with Mark about Coup De Torchon--Pop. 1280 was moved from West Texas to a french province in Africa, and it works. While "After Dark, My Sweet" and "The Grifters" are probably the most faithful Thompson movie adaptations, "Coup De Torchon" is my favorite Thompson book made into a movie, while Paths of glory is my favorite Thompson film.

I have an article on Hardluck examining some of Thompson psycho noir novels at:


--Dave Z.

btw. my second novel, Bad Thoughts, is supposed to be out today. So far it has gotten trashed by Publishers Weekly, while getting good reviews by Booklist, Library Journal, and everyone who's reviewed it on the web.

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Michael Robison
<miker_zspider@...> wrote:
> Thanks to Dave Z for recommending this one. It was
> great. I had heard that the main character was a
> replay of Lou Ford from Killer Inside Me and I was
> prepared for a replay of that. It's still about a
> small town sheriff smarter than he acts, but the mood
> was way different. Lou Ford is just plain scary, but
> Nick is hilarious. Aside from being funny, his
> homespun humor carries some serious and pointed satire
> with it. Not much is safe. Thompson takes a shot at
> religion, sex, hypocrisy, gullibility, and small-town
> morals. Twain came to mind. It also surprised me
> that the setting is back around 1910, near as I could
> tell. Although it goes without saying, the humor does
> not prevent the bodies from piling up.
> I would appreciate it if you Thompson fans could give
> me a couple more recommendations. I've already read
> Killer Inside Me and The Getaway. I liked the former
> more than the latter. In The Getaway, I thought the
> characters changed too much towards the end to be
> believable.
> miker
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