Re: RARA-AVIS: David Goodis and jazz influence

Date: 21 Jul 2007

Ed wrote:

"Okay, there's one in the first five pages. But the force of the narrative carries you along."

That's probably why I moved on. I liked the style and was interested enough in the characters to overlook the terrible coincidences -- the one that made me laugh to keep from throwing the book down was the random cab driver recognizing him and not only not turning him in, but having exactly the connection he needed at that point. That was even worse than the one you mention at the beginning.

"I'm curious, Mark. Which Goodis titles do you like the most?"

My favorite is Street of No Return. There's something about the circularity of it that really appealed to me. Only slightly behind that I'd rate Cassidy's Girl or Down There.

In fact, the only other one besides Dark Passage that I've read that I would count as a lesser work of his is Wounded and the Slain. I'm not sorry I read it, but found it more interesting for how it relates to other of his books than for itself. It has many of the usual Goodis elements, but it's like he's still working them out. There are the fragile blonde woman he loved, but couldn't make it work with and the dark lower class woman he fights against being with, but he dispenses with her pretty early on. Which is part of the second element, upstanding middle class guy drinking his career and sexual frustration away, but it's odd seeing the process; in many of his other books, the guy starts at the bottom, the cause seen in flashback.

And there was that '50s Freudianism that someone recently mentioned about another book. I must admit, though, that I was somewhat surprised by the open discussion of the female orgasm in a '50s book, but the very slow rise of the repressed memory got tired. And it led into some serious plot manipulation in the last quarter to bring about a pretty unbelievable "happy ever after" for the couple, as artificial as those in films of the era. I have trouble even thinking of "happy ever after" in reference to a Goodis book.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 21 Jul 2007 EDT