Re: RARA-AVIS: When the Sacred Ginmill Closes

From: Stephen Burridge (
Date: 12 Nov 2007

I just read this one last week myself. It was my third Scudder novel, after "Hope To Die" and "A Dance At The Slaughterhouse", and I think the best of the three. I kind of liked the treatment of the drinking.
 These guys are heroically hard drinkers, but it obviously isn't sustainable, and they screw up in various large and small ways. I don't know where this story fits into the narrative of Scudder's eventual decision to get sober, but there seem to be signs that things are getting out of control. And I thought the retrospective narration, '70s as recalled from the '80s, was very well done, and interesting to read in 2007. It also allowed quite naturally for the
"what happened to the characters afterwards" sort of coda at the end.

If/when I read another of these novels, it will probably be one of the earlier ones. I think the flawed, drinking Scudder makes an interesting protagonist.

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