RARA-AVIS: Re: John D.

From: tomarmstrongmusic (tom@tomarmstrongmusic.com)
Date: 19 Oct 2009

  • Next message: moorich2: "RARA-AVIS: Re: John D."

    In the case of "One Monday..." (which is not a McGee book), yeah I did actually agree with a lot of the points of the digressions that the narrator & his co-workers would go off on. The actual content of the speeches was often interesting & well-thought-out and well-said.

    They still bugged the crap out of me, though. They pulled me out of the story. The first person character narrator was named Fenn; it was like all of a sudden, Fenn stopped talking to me, and John D is just borrowing his voice to say what he wants to say, not what Fenn would actually say, and then when the speech is over Fenn comes back and talks like himself again. Charles Williams would never do that, in books like "Operator". Or another book I just finished, "Girl With The Long Green Heart" by Lawrence Block. The first-person narrator tells you the story, and stays in character and uses his own words all the way through. That's what I look for.

    When McDonald drops that stuff, and just lets the character be the character, he can be quite effective. There were some really strong points to the book that made it worth reading.

    I don't have a problem with a first-person narrator who expresses opinions different from my own - I vehemently disagree with a lot of the opinions held by Frank Mansfield and Jaimie Figeroa in Willeford's "Cockfighter" and "Burnt Orange", and those are two of my all-time favorites!

    Tom Armstrong

    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Burton Smith <kvnsmith@...> wrote:
    > Tom wrote:
    > > I had a mixed reaction to this book, mostly on account of the
    > > narrative voice. it's written in first person, but about a third of
    > > the time I was unconvinced that what I was reading was how that
    > > character would actually say or describe something.

    > I don't want to turn this into a big political debate, but I was
    > wondering if you tended to agree with McGee's rants or not. Because
    > I've found that often a reader's tolerance for digressions (or off-
    > topic rants or socio-political pontificating or whatever you call it)
    > depended on whether they agreed with the digressions or not.
    > Kevin Burton Smith
    > Editor/Founder
    > The Thrilling Detective Web Site
    > "Wasting your time on the web since 1998."

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