RARA-AVIS: deconstructing Hieronymus part 4

From: BaxDeal@aol.com
Date: 11 Mar 2008

in an interview with Georgie Lewis of Powells Books in Portland, OR, Connelly discussed his relocation out of Los Angeles in relation to his work: "... the biggest change is that, although I'm still writing about (contemporary) Los Angeles - now I'm writing about (it) from memory. Which is a bit of a different way than I used to write in my previous eleven novels. My process was to hang out, observe, research what I was writing about and almost immediately go back to my office and write those sections. So it was a very close transfer between observation and writing. ... Now that I can't do that kind of research the challenge is that I am now required to pull it out of my...'creative memory' ..."

pulled from the author's "creative memory", the book he was writing at the time, LOST LIGHT is an exhilerating homage to one of his greatest influences, Raymond Chandler. Connelly had experimented with writing Bosch in the first person before, in his short stories. two of his stand alones, Blood Work and Chasing the Dime were told from that more intimate perspective as well. but up until that point, the Bosch series had always been related in a detached third person

also up to that point, the detective had been a gun and badge carrying member of the LAPD. now, like Chandler's iconographic Philip Marlowe, Harry Bosch was a private eye on the mean streets of Los Angeles. and the character's inner musings infused the story with a richer emotional texture

"Hollywood was always best viewed at night. It could only hold its mystique in darkness. In sunlight the curtain comes up and the intrigue is gone, replaced by a sense of hidden danger. It was a place of takers and users, of broken sidewalks and dreams. You build a city in the desert, water it with false hopes and false idols, and eventually this is what happens. The desert reclaims it, turns it arid, leaves it barren. Human tumbleweeds drift across its streets, predators hide in the rocks."

one could almost hear the detective admonish himself that he wasn't human tonight

in contrast to the decidedly old school Lost Light, Connelly's follow up-- THE NARROWS is every bit a modern thriller. still working private, Bosch is hired by Terry McCaleb's widow when it appears the former FBI agent's passing may not have been by natural causes after all. like in A Darkness More Than Night, Bosch is mixed with characters who have appeared in other Connelly stand alones. Cassie Black, the cat burglar from Void Moon goes unnamed, but shares a friendly if cryptic balcony conversation with the detective at a Las Vegas hotel. in a funny but somewhat fourth wall breaking moment, McCaleb's hapless sidekick Buddy Lockridge complains about his character's depiction in the Clint Eastwood film about McCaleb solving the murder of his heart donor. most integral to the plot however, Bosch teams up with disgraced FBI agent Rachel Walling in pursuit of The Poet. it's concept nirvana. Connelly's two greatest creations pitted against one another

some of the authors contemporaries, Robert Crais and T. Jefferson Parker to name two, have mixed first and third person narratives within the same story, usually with the third person reserved for chapters featuring the antagonist

in The Narrows however, Connelly takes the technique a step further, with protagonist Bosch relating his story in 1st person, while the chapters featuring both The Poet and co-protagonist Rachel Walling being told in the 3rd. the result is very much like two separate books colliding with one another. strangely enough, the more extensive use of the technique actually feels more fluid and organic and less jarring than the more limited technique practiced elsewhere. odder still, even though relations between Bosch and his beloved Elea nor Wish are more estranged than ever, one feels his melancholy more profoundly from the more distant 3rd person of Angels Flight, than in his first person recounting of it here. in the 3rd person, seeing the character's sadness is voyeuristic. told about it by the character himself, it's more matter of fact

Bosch never feels comfortable working without his badge in either Lost Light or The Narrows. early in the latter book, he's offered the opportunity to reclaim his position in the department and pursue his true calling. there's never a question that the detective won't take it, and in the end, he does. both he and his creator had accomplished what they had set out to do when they changed their lives

it was time for one of them at least, to go home


John Lau

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