Posts Tagged ‘Death’

In which an unwritten work is mercilessly reviewed; or, what I’d like to see written and how…

In this instant classic of suspenselessness we find the villain Jan Hoovervort murdering the UN Secretary General and shooting fifteen delegates in Queens, then he makes an abortive path to Washington D.C. to tackle the sitting President with hugs and bullets. Suffice to say he does not complete his quest and he dies in the doing.

The immediate, glaring defect of this work is the fateful reconciliation to his task that Jan displays. He knows he is enforcing a coercive effect on history and he relishes the lifeless act of murder needed for completion. Yet the ease with which he flows in this mode is astounding. He relegates his life to the assassin’s creed and loves every minute of it. For he knows that murder is a simple art and if someone is to be deposed then all the easier for it. And that is the impact Jan Hoovervort gives to the world, the senseless homicide of a somewhat defenseless official. Jan mars the consciousness of this world with pure, facile evil.

The dominant strain of mur’drous writing inflicts on the reader a false suspension of disbelief. The truth is in the telling for the above mentioned faux ouvre. You would have had a difficult time with the cult classic Is Your Mind My Own?

Evan Kerry


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Between my finger and my thumb   

The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound   
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:   
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds   
Bends low, comes up twenty years away   
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills   
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft   
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.   
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

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Where a review is held up to the light for translucence, opacity, or transparency..

The death of Elmore Leonard had the Times Literary Supplement combing their archives for any evidence of his existence.  They came up with a slight compendium of allusive articles to Mr. Leonard.

Here is the listing with compulsory hyperlinks:



Here is the review proper:


Besides a gush of worship for Raymond Chandler in the first half of the review, the critic sort of skims over the catalogue of works the TLS had ignored for the prior x years of his career. The reviewer makes it clear that Chandler was in Candyland and that Leonard resides in the slums of Atlantic City-esque holes. Apart from that I was never really impelled toward a Leonard work and this mishmash of a review doesn’t compel one to the task either.



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