Re: RARA-AVIS: Rare Books Continued - Behold This Woman

From: Allan Guthrie (
Date: 17 Sep 2008

  • Next message: Jeff Vorzimmer: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Rare Books Continued - Behold This Woman"

    Interesting to hear such a positive response, Jeff. I had the opposite reaction. It's the only one of Goodis's books I struggled to finish. Possibly because his career-long technique of associating characters with colours is so invasive. At one point a character is described as having 'a yellow day' (I think it's yellow). Colour coding is an effective technique when done well (as in a great scene in Night Squad where the protag is conflicted about which tie to wear, one green and the other yellow, the colours having been set up throughout to represent the two women in his life), but it cripples the narrative here. Check any random couple of pages and I bet you find a colour reference. The melodrama in Behold This Woman may be a good one, I couldn't say. I find it hard to believe in the big picture when the details don't work. But maybe I'm just having a yellow day.


    ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jeff Vorzimmer" <> To: <> Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 4:12 AM Subject: RARA-AVIS: Rare Books Continued - Behold This Woman

    > Behold This Woman may arguably be David Goodis' best novel. At the very
    > least it was the novel he spent the rest of his life rewriting. It is the
    > ultimate manifestation of his recurring good woman vs evil woman
    > theme/obsession. Having read almost all of Goodis at this point, I have to
    > say this one's got more action than most of his--three murders, blackmail,
    > one knock-down-drag-out fistfight, a catfight that has one female
    > character
    > stripping the other naked and a ghost. All pretty much in the confines of
    > a
    > Philadelphia rowhouse over the period of a couple of months in the spring
    > of
    > the year. The book almost seems surreal at times. The word I hear most to
    > describe Goodis is redemption, but I don't think there's any redemption
    > here, even by the one character able to withstand succumbing to evil.
    > Jeff

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