Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: recent reads

Date: 26 Feb 2008

Dave wrote:

"I'm finishing up Stark now. This is my first Edward Bunker book--although I am a big fan of the movie Straight Time. I take it you've read other Bunker books--is this at all representative of them?"

Not at all, based on what I've read of him (this, No Beast/Straight Time, Animal Factory and his Memoir). Stark is to his other writing what a straight to cable crime movie (that you might not watch if there was anything better on) is to Straight Time. And as much as I liked Straight Time, it pales in comparison to the book it's based on.

The basic difference as I see it (in addition to the improvement in writing from writing many more rejected novels before his "first"), is that Stark seems to be written to a perceived market of paperback crime originals, whereas No Beast is clearly written for its own sake. Stark is written about a con man, a profession for which Bunker felt contempt in general (according to the afterward), whereas his others are highly autobiographical with far more complex characters. I've got to read the other two of his I haven't gotten to.

That said, it sounds like enjoyed Stark a bit more than you, but I'm a sucker for books about cons (although I prefer long cons and this only has short) and junkies, and this one is a twofer.


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