RARA-AVIS: Re: Jim Thompson

From: jacquesdebierue (jacquesdebierue@yahoo.com)
Date: 04 Nov 2009

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    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Burton Smith <kvnsmith@...> wrote:

    > 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.

    Without denying that some of his work sucks, I would not say Thompson is overrated. He had a special magic that no imitator has been able to replicate... He could sound both lucid and crazy at the same time. I have a suspicion that he is not from the pulps but a literary descendant of the great John Dos Passos (Ellroy is another descendant, more obviously).



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