--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, 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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