RARA-AVIS: Rare Books Continued - Bodies are Dust

From: Jeff Vorzimmer ( jvorzimmer@austin.rr.com)
Date: 10 May 2008

Since I've read most of the vintage crime fiction that's been reprinted, I've started on a kick of tracking down rare books and thought the list might like to know my thoughts on some of them. As a follow up to Brotherhood of Velvet, I read P. J. Wolfson's Bodies are Dust .

Bodies are Dust (1931) is bleek, but it was interesting to find that David Goodis had a stylistic predecessor. The books is a must-read for Goodis fans. Though, where Goodis almost always has two important female characters--one the embodiment of good, the other bad--Wolfson has one female character who appears to the male protagonist as, alternately, saint and sinner, depending on his own conscience. The story itself seemed familiar and I realized from reading old posts that it is the biblical story of King David.

If you try to look at it from the context of 1931, it must have seemed radical at that time. It is hardboiled crime fiction and social commentary and very noir, even more so than the books of the genre that preceeded it.

Goodis will be my next read--Retreat from Oblivion. Other rare books I intend to track down and read include Bezzerides' The Long Haul, Karp's Cry Flesh (which I found at a used book store this morning) and Hardman, as well as Goodis' Fire in the Flesh (I'm almost done with the Goodis catalog).

Anyone else care to contribute to my list of super rare books that are none-the-less worth tracking down?


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