Monday, November 09, 2009

Pariah; Bored To Death; Internet

I can't remember if I read Dave Zeltserman's Pariah in manuscript or got an early galley but as soon as I finished it I felt protective of it. I knew there would be some people who just wouldn't get it. Because if there are 143 rules about writing crime fiction Dave managed to break 156 of them. Believe me you have never NEVER read a novel like this one. A major major novel. Yesterday The Washington Post ran a long exuberant review of it.

By Maureen Corrigan
Monday, November 9, 2009

By Dave Zeltserman

Serpent's Tail. 280 pp. Paperback, $14.95

What a sick puppy of a writer Dave Zeltserman is! I didn't think a suspense story could get any more dark and twisted than Zeltserman's pulp masterpiece of last year, "Small Crimes." In that nasty little immorality tale, a crooked ex-cop bent on redemption gets released from prison and finds out that nobody -- not his ex-wife, not his young daughters, not even his elderly parents -- wants him back. The kicker is that they're right. By the end of "Small Crimes," I was wrung out thanks to the ingeniousness of Zeltserman's nonstop plot twists and the stark meanness of his universe. Now comes "Pariah," a doozy of a doom-laden crime story that not only makes merry with the justice system, but also satirizes those bottom feeders in the publishing industry who would sign Osama bin Laden to a six-figure contract for his memoirs, if only they could figure out which cave to send their lawyers into. If there's any other young writer out there who does crime noir better than Zeltserman, I don't even want to know. As it is, I can barely handle reading him without altogether losing whatever faith I've got left in humanity.

The antihero of this latest excursion into the underside is Kyle Nevin, a former heavyweight in the South Boston Irish mob. Eight years earlier, Kyle was set up by his former boss, Red Mahoney, to be murdered during a big bank heist; but fate smiled on Kyle, and another guy took the fatal bullet instead. Now, just released from eight years in the slammer, Kyle is out for revenge, sniffing out Mahoney the way a half-starved bloodhound would catch the scent of an underdone Big Mac. As is required in any work of crime noir worth its grit, we readers see the world through Kyle's bloodshot eyes. And here lies Zeltserman's particular brilliance: As a murderous sociopath, Kyle, like his predecessors in the Zeltserman lineup, is so boisterous in his self-justifications (for everything from breaking the little finger of a litterbug to kidnapping a sickly child to burning alive a close relative in his bed) that a reader can't help but laugh at the fervent illogic of it all.

for the rest go here:

--------------------BORED TO DEATH

Maybe the best episode of all last night when all three principals box three of their enemies. Well, two of their enemies, since the one fighting our cartoonist keeps apologizing for fighting him and telling him how much he admires his work.

Shout out to Patti Abbott: I thought the performance of the was rendered by none other than Ted Danson. We finally got the backstory that made him real (at least to me) and he was certainly up to it.

A real treat.

-------------------THE INTERNET IS KILLING STORYTELLING (Thanks to Mark Johnson for the link)
from the Times Online

Narratives are a staple of every culture the world over. They are disappearing in an online blizzard of tiny bytes of information
Ben Macintyre

Click, tweet, e-mail, twitter, skim, browse, scan, blog, text: the jargon of the digital age describes how we now read, reflecting the way that the very act of reading, and the nature of literacy itself, is changing.

The information we consume online comes ever faster, punchier and more fleetingly. Our attention rests only briefly on the internet page before moving incontinently on to the next electronic canapé.

Addicted to the BlackBerry, hectored and heckled by the next blog alert, web link or text message, we are in state of Continual Partial Attention, too bombarded by snippets and gobbets of information to focus on anything for very long. Microsoft researchers have found that someone distracted by an e-mail message alert takes an average of 24 minutes to return to the same level of concentration.

The internet has evolved a new species of magpie reader, gathering bright little buttons of knowledge, before hopping on to the next shiny thing.

for the rest go here:


David Cranmer said...

Good post and thanks for the links.

"Magpie reader" says it all. Sad, but true.

Deb said...

Couldn't agree more about the lack of narrative structure in internet reading (and in our minds). I have noticed a perceptable increase in the number of students who cannot explain chronologically what happens in a story. This leads to other problems with cause/effect or understanding that actions have consequences.

As I read somewhere recently (rough paraphrase here), the internet can provide us with a multitude of information, but only with intelligent thought can we organize and use that information effectively.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. Sorry life has got you down. Check out Nothing's Good for some funny crap from life and the internet.