Re: RE : RARA-AVIS: Bloch/Woolrich

From: Patrick King (
Date: 12 Feb 2008

I wouldn't call Marjorie "strong, reserved,
> determined, and confident." She's loyal to a fault.
She actually enables this idiot by not getting to the bottom of the problem when her mother died, for example. She could clearly see something was off base at that point. She certainly has a hand in her own death. Anyone who's wondering why the institution of marriage has eviscerated over the past century only needs to read FRIGHT to get a good idea. Few people today will put up with a bad attitude from a partner much less murder. And with good reason. Why make oneself miserable to live up to someone else's idea of
"marriage," whatever that is? If I knew someone was a murderer, I wouldn't be around them without a few good friends or a Smith & Wesson. While Marjorie is certainly the most sympathetic character in the book, it's never clear what she saw in Marshall in the first place. Was he charming when he courted her? Because from the moment we meet him he is a weakling with no self control, and no common sense when he finds himself in a predicament. Certainly Dolly Dillon in Thompson's HELL OF A WOMAN, is a despicable character, as is Lou Ford in THE KILLER INSIDE ME. Still I don't feel the contempt for either of them that I do for Preston Marshall. I think FRIGHT is a great story and would make a good movie, but to some extent it has to be played for laughs. Marshall's cowardice is only equaled by his stupidity.

As to the unpredictability of the ending, perhaps it's because I write, too, but I saw it coming very early on. It's good! Don't get me wrong. But I did expect it.

Patrick King
--- Jeff Vorzimmer <> wrote:

> I'm currently reading Manhattan Love Song which
> reminds me a lot of Fright. The main characters seem
> to be almost identical, especially the male
> progtagonist, though the story is different. It is
> set in 1928, which is four years before the novel
> was published, but it's surprising how progressive
> the thinking is about love, marriage, prostitution,
> etc.
> You'll find that almost all Woolrich's male
> characters are like those in Fright--whining,
> self-indulgent, petulant, and morally ambiguous,
> while his female characters are strong, reserved,
> determined, and confident. That's what makes a
> Woolrich novel a unique experience.
> One other thing about a Woolrich novel that no one
> has mentioned is that they are never predictable.
> Jeff
> ---- Patrick King <> wrote:
> > While Woolrich's purple passages and liquid
> metaphors
> > are a lot to deal with, I found the book engaging
> and
> > interesting to think about. Preston Marshall is a
> very
> > unattractive protagonist. He is not charming, he
> is
> > not intelligent, he is a coward, and a clown.
> While
> > unscrupulous character, he's both cunning and
> > masculine. Marshall has not even these traits. The
> > employer, Pond, is an interesting person because
> of
> > the initial way he dealt with his own crimes, but
> he's
> > underused in the book. Wise and his wife are great
> > characters, but represent more of Marshall's fear
> of
> > what they may be, then the people they actually
> turn
> > out to be. I do feel sorry for Marjorie but her
> > continued stupidity mitigates most of my good
> > feelings. She is in every way better than her
> husband
> > so why ever did she marry him in the first place?

      ____________________________________________________________________________________ Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 12 Feb 2008 EST