RARA-AVIS: Richard Russo on Spitzer . . . and noir?

From: DJ-Anonyme@webtv.net
Date: 17 Mar 2008

I've never read Richard Russo, but I know he has some fans here. Yesterday's Washington Post Outlook section featured his musings on how he would write a novel about Eliot Spitzer. This part particularly struck me, and how it descibes a lot of charcters we like to read about:

"Back when I was teaching fiction writing, I used to pitch my students, especially the beginners, on complexity. They seemed to think that readers would be attracted to their characters' virtue and would recognize shared humanity in their strength and courage; I argued -- perversely they thought -- that unrelenting virtue is not just unrealistic but uninteresting. . . .
"But I don't mean to jigger the facts; fictive Eliot will do exactly what the real Eliot has done, only my guy almost never imagines getting caught. And when he does occasionally consider the possibility, he trusts that there will be ample warning that disaster is imminent. For the most part, things in his life have happened slowly, especially the good things, and he trusts that bad things will evolve similarly. He will swerve at the last moment. The possibility of a head-on collision, swift and devastating, simply never occurs to him."

That last part seems to me to descrine a lot of noir protagonists. Even many of those who recognize they are circling the drain continue to believe they will be able to save themselves at the last moment.

Anyway, the rest of the article is here:

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ content/article/2008/03/14/AR2008031401550.html


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