Sonny's remark about Winslow's je ne sais quoi style is more on-point than he may realize. Don mentioned during the Savages book tour that he had French Wave directors in mind as he wrote Goddard -- and Oliver Stone got that, which is why he was so keen on getting the rights. (They're working on a script together now.)
The line that killed me: "i wasn't sure if he was showing off or was simply good." It made me think of Janet Maslin's remark in an otherwise glowing review that Savages was Don's most significant "bid for attention" yet. I introduced Don at the reading I mentioned above and I noted how much that little dig pissed me off. Don smiled, and said you take the good with the not-so-good, then he said that if not for that review, his career would likely be over.
That's an incredibly sobering remark. NY publishing is frozen in the headlights. Anything really good is going to risk either being a great success or a total flop, whereas mediocrity is predictable, and what the big houses want now more than ever is predictability. And with fewer and fewer name reviewers out there to kick a book like Savages across the line, we can expect not to see a great many wonderful books that are just too hard to define for the Sales and Marketing Depts of major houses to green-light.
I agree that all of Don's work is worth reading -- I mean, big time -- but I think stylistically he did something with Power of the Dog that was different. This was a " big book" in the way the others aren't, though the others are rich and have their own unique heft. When you remember that he's been a playwright and has written for film and TV, the quick, scenic, omniscient smartass move-or-die style makes sense. But Power of the Dog descends to a psychological and moral level that I think is particularly rewarding. (The first sixty pages of Frankie Machine, which are kind of a Power of the Dog hangover, have a similar feel). It's hard to tell people to read Dog first, because it is different. I think I'd recommend Dawn Patrol to begin with, and if you liked that, you'd like if not love everything else.
I'd be interested in what other listers thought on this point: which book would you select as a starting point for Winslow if the person had never read him?
Hope everybody had a grand Thanksgiving.
--- In email@example.com, "cptpipes2000" <cptpipes@...> wrote:
> Sonny wrote:
> > speaking of voice, i'm still not sure what the fuck don winslow did with Savages and if i loved it, hated it or both.
> I just finished this one today and though there is much about it that reminds me of previous Winslow books, it is certainly a departure of sorts in style. T. Jefferson Parker channeled through Ken Bruen doesn't exactly describe it, but is as close as I can get.
> Overall, I liked it and think that Winslow's output from California Fire and Life onward is an absolute murderer's row of classics, with Power of the Dog standing out as my favorite. Isle of Joy (aka A Winter Spy) and Bobby Z are fine as well, but everything since then has been off the charts in my opinion.
> best to all,
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