RARA-AVIS: Block and alcoholism/depredssion

From: frogprod ( frogprod@rcn.com)
Date: 26 Nov 2007

I've been lurking here for years. I've never posted mainly because the usual folks here are so knowledgable that they generally post what I wanted to say before I get around to it, and say it far better than I would have done anyway

I've been a Lawrence Block fan for a long time, especially the Scudder books. Somewhere in the past 10 years I stopped reading the Scudders, but that's what happens with every series I read - no matter how much I love the character, I think a writer can only do so much with a series character, eventually even the best ones turn into rote, and when Scudder stopped drinking , and when even the threat of drinking became less terrifying, and when he got a girlfriend, and became happy, well the books just became less compelling to me.

Over Thanksgiving I had a chance to re-read my 2 favorites - Eight Million Ways to Die and When the Sacred Ginmill Closes and I came away convinced that Block really captures the essence of alcoholism and depression better than any contemporary writer I've read.

The plots are very simple and almost irrelevant. It's the constant, repititous, painstakingly detailed laying out of the daily grind that sets a mood of someone just going through the motions. I went here, I drank that, I ate that, I saw this person, I almost did this but didn't.

It sounds as if it should be boring, but I pretty much read each rather thick book in one sitting - they're impossible to put down.

It's really none of my business and I don't know if Block has ever shared details of his personal life, but I wonder how he is able to portray the life of a depressed alcoholic so vividly and, from my experience (I am not a depressed alcoholic myself, but I've worked with them professionally and dealt with them personally), so truly.

Has Block ever spoken to this?

just curious and, as I said, none of my business really.

hope I can chime in more often


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