Re: RARA-AVIS: The Gaudier the Patter

From: Patrick King (
Date: 03 Dec 2009

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    Kevin wrote:

    BLUE MURDER isn't Bellem at his best -- for that, you need to read the Dan Turner short stories. Bellen was either a genius or a lunatic, but he knew absurdity works best in small doses. Which may be one reason INHERENT VICE didn't work for me. Too long for too few laughs.

    But INHERENT VICE's "Fly Me to the Moon" scene? That's as giddy-goofy as anything Bellem came up with. And even now, Bellem's slang dictionary-on- speed riffing is a hoot.

    In fact, Pynchon and Ellroy (another literary motormouth who's a sucker for gaudy patter -- the gaudier the better) could both learn something from Bellem.


    If a few laughs was all you got out of INHERENT VICE, you didn't get the big picture.

    Virtually all of Pynchon's novels have blogs devoted to them. The AGAINST THE DAY blogs are often very thought provoking. INHERENT VICE is still new so hasn't a full head of steam yet, in my opinion.

    Comparing Pynchon to Bellem, or Ellroy to Bellem for that matter, and suggesting he has anything to teach either of them about anything in the universe, is the best laugh I've had today but it's still early yet.

    Gaudy patter from Bellem chosen at random, (i.e. I opened the book):

    "'What do you thing I ought to do, Boss--lam out of town?"

    "No, no, not yet. The best thing for you to do is go home to your flat and lay low until I can see what can be done."

    "You got any angles, Boss?"

    Steve looked at me. "Maybe--Provided you've told me the truth. Listen, you haven't lied to me, have you?"

    "Lied to you, Boss? What about?"

    "I mean--you're really on the level about being in that bungalow just a couple of minutes?"

    "God, yes! Jesus--you don't really think I croaked Mason and that broad, do you?"'

    What exactly is that "something" you think Pynchon and Ellroy could learn from Bellum?

    Nonetheless, against my vow after wasting a couple of hours reading BLUE MURDER, I will read a Dan Turner story to try to piece together what you guys really like about R.L. Bellem. To my judgment he's more funny strange than funny ha-ha. I'm still shaking my head trying to understand why anybody published BLUE MURDER. And even more so, who bought it and why? I read it because you guys recommended Bellem and it's the only book readily available by him. Thanks a lot, by the way!

    Patrick King


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