RE: RARA-AVIS: Where have you gone Rara-Avis (Brewer)

From: Ron Clinton (
Date: 12 Jul 2010

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    Not a fall, per se, and I probably overstated that by comparing him to Brewer, but certainly an uneven finish. THE WOUNDED AND SLAIN and FIRE IN THE FLESH, for example, are two later books that are far cries from the brilliance of his earlier work. Having said that, as you rightly point out, THE BLONDE ON THE STREET CORNER and SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER/DOWN THERE sandwiched these two lesser works, and both are quite good. His final one, SOMEBODY'S DONE FOR, was a generally unremarkable capstone, but certainly better than WOUNDED and FIRE. So again -- yes, more uneven a career end than a linear decline.

    Ron C.

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: [] On
    > Behalf Of Mark Sullivan
    > Sent: Monday, July 12, 2010 6:15 PM
    > To: rara-avis
    > Subject: RE: RARA-AVIS: Where have you gone Rara-Avis (Brewer)
    > When exactly was Goodis's fall? I have not yet read all of his books,
    neither his
    > first nor last, but have read both early and late and don't see a decline.
    Now I'm not
    > implying all of his books are great, but the better and the not so good
    seem to be
    > side by side. For instance, The Wounded and the Slain, not one of his
    best, comes
    > right between The Blonde on the Street Corner and Down There, two
    > good ones. And his faults, like the over reliance on coincidence, run
    throughout his
    > career. Of course, in his best books, like Street of No Return, Goodis
    could make
    > you overlook those coincidences.
    > Mark
    > > To:
    > > From:
    > > Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2010 10:34:10 -0700
    > > Subject: RE: RARA-AVIS: Where have you gone Rara-Avis (Brewer)
    > >
    > > I'll throw in my comment along with the others for conversation...
    > >
    > > I just read Gil Brewer's MEMORY OF PASSION (Lancer, 1962, pbo), and I
    > > now safely say -- and with not a little amount of regret -- I know
    > > where Brewer's decline began.
    > >
    > > I was really looking forward to this novel since it's the Brewer that's
    > > evaded me for some time, but it was a disappointment on many levels.
    > > decline into alcoholism, hackwork and sleaze porn hindsight,
    > > MEMORY painfully foreshadows all that's to come. 'Course, even judged
    > > its own merits in a contextual vacuum, it's a slogging mess...and you
    > > find a much bigger fan of Brewer than me.
    > >
    > > The decline in quality from his brilliant '50s novels to MEMORY is
    > > I can't think of another pbo author whose decline parallels (let alone
    > > exceeds) the degree to which Brewer fell. Some come close, perhaps
    > > comes to mind, as does Woolrich), but none reach Brewer's extreme.
    > >
    > > Ron C.

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