RE: RARA-AVIS: Admin: Well, these Brewer openings are pretty peripheral to Rara-Avis's subject

From: Ron Clinton (
Date: 30 May 2010

  • Next message: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Admin: Well, these Brewer openings are pretty peripheral to Rara-Avis's subject"

    I'm not offended, nor do I think it's peripheral at all...any post that offers added information on valued writer's listed body of work seems more than appropriate to me.

    Having said that, I'd never want to read them. Seeing a writer of Brewer's talent -- a talent that was so vividly on display in the '50s and '60s -- sinking to such lows in his last few years of life, incoherent and bitter at his desperate lot in life, drinking himself to death as he tried to make enough just to subsist by churning out softcore porn...I just don't have any interest in that visiting that pain. Brewer should have had a much better end his life; a writer of his talent deserved better.

    I see the euphemistic/sleaze pbos of Block and Westlake considerably different. They're authors who did that material early in their career, writing books that most would find quite mild, even charming, by today's standards. They then transcended that stage of their career, and went upward and onward to become masters of their genre. It's interesting and entertaining to revisit these earlier works, to understand their humble roots, so to speak, and appreciate the phenomenal growth and maturation of their talent.

    Brewer, though, followed a very different route, with a career that trended downward, climaxing (if you'll excuse the pun) into penning whack-off books and a few other pseudonymous works-for-hire, all of which belied the writer who burned so brightly in the two decades before.

    I'd prefer to remember Brewer as the writer he was, not the one he became.

    Ron C.

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: [] On
    > Behalf Of Mark Sullivan
    > Sent: Saturday, May 29, 2010 9:31 PM
    > To: rara-avis
    > Subject: RE: RARA-AVIS: Admin: Well, these Brewer openings are pretty
    > peripheral to Rara-Avis's subject
    > How is anything written by Gil Brewer "peripheral" to our discussion?
    Brewer is a
    > major contributor to the genres the list is built on, so anything he wrote
    is of interest
    > in filling out our picture of him as a writer, no different from David
    Goodis's air
    > warfare stories, Fredric Brown's horror or sci-fi writing, various
    authors' work in the
    > western field, etc, all of which have been discussed here. As has the
    > pseudonymous soft porn work of Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake and others.
    > Brewer's work in this genre is absolutely on topic as far as I'm
    > Now as for the quotations, anyone who might be offended was given fair
    > about their graphicness. And personally, I found the quotations quite
    interesting. I
    > once heard Westlake refer to his works in this area as "euphemism books,"
    > paraphrasing him, the job was to get as close as possible to the real
    subject without
    > using certain words. Of course, he was writing in the early '60s. I
    would hazard a
    > guess that Brewer was writing after the 1966 reversal of the obscenity
    > against Naked Lunch, as his description is far more graphic and specific
    > Westlake's or Block's. And I would not be able to make that comparison
    > the actual quotes.
    > So I would definitely vote that discussion of the books and the excerpts
    from them
    > are entirely appropriate here.
    > Mark

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