RE: RARA-AVIS: Re: Tobias Jones on Ross Macdonald in yesterday's Guardian

From: Harry Joseph Lerner (
Date: 05 Aug 2009

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    With all of the debate surrounding RM's place in the hard-boiled pantheon, I wonder if we are overlooking the trees for the sake of the forest. I'm not sure I see a need to lump certain writers together into broader categories. Perhaps it is more useful, from an intellectual standpoint, to consider each author in their own terms, what they did or did not accomplish, without automatically measuring them against someone else's literary yardstick. There are as many ways to tell a story (and explore what it is to be human) as there are people doing the telling and exploring. As the old saying goes...there is more than one way to skin a cat!

    Just one rare bird's humble opinion

    Best, Harry
    ________________________________________ From: [] On Behalf Of jacquesdebierue [] Sent: August 5, 2009 12:06 PM To: Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: Tobias Jones on Ross Macdonald in yesterday's Guardian

    --- In<>, Kevin Burton Smith <kvnsmith@...> wrote:
    > Whereas Hammett, Chandler, Macdonald and Spillane pretty much make up
    > the Mt. Rushmore of hard-boiled detective fiction.

    In truth, there isn't any Mt. Rushmore but only a bunch of books. It is perfectly normal that I pick up a book like The Hot Spot and consider it a masterpiece without any regard to Mt. Rushmore or to Chandler, Hammett or Macdonald. It is not very reasonable to say that Ross Macdonald stands higher than Donald Westlake or Charles Willeford? Higher in what sense, precisely?

    What we have, it seems, is a contagion of the celebrity culture -- but literature is not about celebrity, is about books --and their quality, when speaking critically.

    I don't feel any particular need to have literary heroes. All I care about is good books. I don't care who wrote them or how famous the author is.


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