RARA-AVIS: Re: Jim Thompson

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@sbcglobal.net)
Date: 04 Nov 2009

  • Next message: davezeltserman: "RARA-AVIS: Re: Jim Thompson"

    Chuck wrote:

    > Just read The Grifters.
    > Read quickly enough although I kept wondering who the book was
    > really about.
    > I’m wondering, though, if I’m alone in thinking the ending lacked
    > proper foundation(s).
    > The Killer Inside Me was “pretty darn good.”
    > The Grifters reminds me more of a novel written to reach the word
    > count required by a publishing contract. Once he got the “magic
    > number” of words, he bailed out.
    > Was the movie any better?

    Yep. Donald Westlake wrote the screenplay, which certainly helped.

    Jim once stirred the pot here by daring to suggest that Ross Macdonald was a more consistent writer than Chandler. Well, Thompson's output was far more erratic and inconsistent than Chandler's. Some great peaks, but also also some real valleys, seems to be the general consensus. His alcoholism definitely had a negative effect on his work.

    His reevaluation and subsequent cult following dates almost exclusively from the eighties reprints by Black Lizard books, and as more and more of his work resurfaced, it soon became clear it wasn't all golden.

    It's been posited by more than one observer of the mystery scene that Thompson went from being one of the genre's most underrated writers to one of the most overrated.

    Too late for him to enjoy, of course, but the bitter black joke might have been one he'd have understood.

    Kevin Burton Smith Thrilling Detective Web Site New Issue Any Millennium now...

    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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