Re: RARA-AVIS: Salt River by James Sallis

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 08 Jan 2009

  • Next message: J.C. Hocking: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Salt River by James Sallis/N. Baker"

    On Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 3:11 PM, Sarah <> wrote:

    > Now, Baker's outside the scope of rara-avis - if anything, he's
    > probably the antithesis -- but really boys, I must beg to differ.
    > Saying THE MEZZANINE is "a novel about an office work's ride up an
    > escalator" is to miss the point. Yes, that's the outer framework, but
    > Baker's using this mundane task as a window into the joys that can and
    > should be found in minutiae. So often we're on the move, rushing off
    > somewhere, in the midst of carrying out our daily tasks that we don't
    > stop to consider there might be some wonder and fun and exuberance
    > found interstitially.
    > I also think THE FERMATA is really great but I recognize Baker's
    > walking a fine line between silly and serious and if you're not in the
    > mood to go along for the ride, so to speak, it's not going to work.

     Always to hear La Weinman chime in, Sarah! And flavors are flavors, and we're not all going to like butterscotch, so I take your point. I guess it's sort of like someone saying, "James Joyce didn't write to be read, he wrote to express himself." That will satisfy some people. Others, not so much.

    I had to laugh at your mention of Baker "walking a fine line between silly and serious," because I just (again) tried to read that pacifist-angled history of World War II that he wrote last year, and it was after reading the part about how Churchill was as bad as Hitler (again and again and again) and I realized (again) that he was cherry-picking his information and his sources to suit his purposes, that I further realized that I am as finished with Baker as I am with Spillane. Not my flavor, I guess.

    See? I just explained, in Bakeresque style how I had him on my mind when reflecting on Sallis, and slow moving prose, and viola, you've got the minutiae of my decision to include a reference to him in my reply to Mario.

    I wonder whether he'd be proud, or just maybe grunt, or something?


    All the Best-


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