Re: RARA-AVIS: My take on Block

From: jacquesdebierue (
Date: 27 Nov 2007

--- In, "Anders Engwall"
<anders.engwall@...> wrote:
> I agree with Tapani and Juri on THE DEADLY HONEYMOON, though it was
> years since I read it so I don't recall if the Swedish translation
was to
> blame.

It doesn't strike me as a difficult novel to translate. My memory of it is just as unfavorable, and I read the original.

I thought THE SPECIALISTS was even worse, however. At the time I read it,
> it struck me as being sort of like an episode of THE A-TEAM (no, really)
> except with plenty of very brutal violence and no humor (or
> value) whatsoever.

Curiously, I have no memory of The Specialists, though I know I read it.

> At the moment I'm about three quarters into THE TRIUMPH OF EVIL. So
far, so
> good. That's a very bleak and ugly picture of American society at
the time
> (1971) he paints there.

Yes, and that bleak view is hard to reconcile with Block's comedies, which are works of art, but of a different art. In the Bernie series, he creates an almost Wodehousian world. It's New York, but an idyllic New York (well, within the constraints of modern life).

It's almost like there are several different Lawrence Blocks... I don't even see such an extreme writerly personality split in Westlake, an obvious point of reference and comparison, or in Leonard, another tough guy who can write great comedy.



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