Re: RARA-AVIS: Block-McBain

From: jacquesdebierue (
Date: 06 Jan 2010

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    --- In, "phred deVecca" <frogprod@...> wrote:
    > well, to be fair - the 2 "Burgler" books you cite are not Scudder books... EVERYBODY DIES is, I believe, but I'm pretty sure it was one of the later books where he wasn't actively drinking (though even the later books, with the constant AA meetings, and the tithing, are still effective)
    > I've read Algren and I stand by my statement - Scudder captures the quiet melancholy, unstated depression, and aimless lonlieness as well as anything relating to alcoholism that I've ever read - ever been to an AA meeting? - there is some kind of sorry wisdom in alcoholics that Block captures - I always wondered (not that it's any of my damn business) if Block had alcoholism issues in real life and knew whereof he wrote

    I actually like Block's comic novels and stories. He has a real gift for goofy situations and can write fantastic dialogue to go with them. But it's not easy to grasp the entirety of his work, given how prolific he is. From hardboiled compact novels (like The Girl with the Long Green Heart) to Bernie to Keller to Scudder to Tanner, with various other excursions like the Chip Harrison novels!

    It's not likely that someone will love all of Block, but on the other hand, in his vast output there is something for everybody. His best short stories kick ass, for example.

    For Scudder, my favorite is A Stab in the Dark. It is compact, rings true, and the locale and characterization are just about perfect.



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