--- In email@example.com, Michael Sharp <msharp@...> wrote:
> TLG is my favorite novel. Ever. Of All Time.
> Here is my theory of the detective novel, which will be cursorily
> dismissed by most of you all, perhaps for good reason, but I still
> believe it: With this novel, Chandler wrote the detective novel out of
> existence. He killed it.
Another requiem was Howard Browne's _A Taste of Ashes_. And yet
another was James Crumley's _The Last Good Kiss_. Too many burials for
the same thing, no? Maybe it wasn't all that dead... I do agree in
spirit with your basic premise, but being optimistic, I don't think a
form or even a formula is ever a straightjacket or an impediment to
writing great stuff. Yes, Beethoven killed the symphony and the string
quartet and the classical sonata, but it didn't prevent others from
taking up those forms again and again, running the risk of unfavorable
comparison. Eventually, music had to change, and it did so
drastically. The forms do survive, but so transformed that they no
longer recall the originals.
One problem with the lone wolf PI is that he is not very viable,
perhaps already was not viable in 1953. And the form cannot survive on
pure nostalgia. Connelly, with his cops and other agents, or with the
Lincoln lawyer, can give the reader a sense of contemporary reality.
He couldn't do it with a classic PI in a dingy office with bottle in
the drawer and fly stains on the window (and the hummingbird circling
around and the lawn mowers humming).
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