Some of my work on Updike was discussed on The Dish with Andrew Sullivan.
Some of my work on Ross Macdonald was discussed on Pretty Sinister Books.
Here is my interview with superstar music impresario Wendy Starland.
Here is my interview with Pulitzer Prize nominee Olympia Vernon.
Here is my interview with the editor of Best American Short Stories, Heidi Pitlor.
Here is my interview with acclaimed artist Emil Kazaz.
My musing on John D. Macdonald, Travis McGee, and the chicks was picked up on The Rap Sheet.

John D. MacDonald: One Fearful Yellow Eye




Here McGee travels to Chicago in winter and takes on Nazis, Abstract Expressionism, bad acid trips, and a career criminal who turns out to be no match for the real heavies.  There’s also a wicked, funny parody of the sculptor George Segal.  On the downside, the novel continues the trend of almost unbearable nastiness and inhumanity to one’s fellow men and women.


Here is my usual McGee blueprint rundown:


THE REFERRAL – Someone sends McGee the client.  He doesn’t find the client on his own. Glory Doyle refers herself; four years earlier, McGee found her in serious distress on the beach in Florida and nursed her back to life.  This is a recurring situation in the McGees; Skeeter in The Quick Red Fox is another example.


THE WOMEN – The Travis McGee novels, in essence, are about his various kinds of relationships with various kinds of women.  The crime and recovery elements are almost incidental.   What a cast it is in this novel!  Glory; Heid; Susan; Anna; Janice Stanyard; Gretchen;  and perhaps the most memorable of all, the sexually frustrated housewife Mildred Shottlehauster. 


THE GROUP SCENE – Some sort of party or orgy figures importantly in the case.  N/A here.




THE MOTIVE FOR THE INITIAL CRIME  – Always greed, always lust for money – the other main motivations for criminal behavior, jealousy and revenge, are never present. Fortner Geis’ many indiscretions are the cause of so much grief, and make him an easy target for the blackmailers.



“DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?” – This, or a variant, is asked by McGee of the woman he has gotten romantically involved with in the course of the story, or she asks it of him, right before they break up.  At one point McGee thinks about Heidi “Keep this one.  It’ll keep well.  It has one hell of a shelf life.”  But then:
        “We’d better say good-bye here, Travis.”
        I tried to pull her into my arms but she begged and demanded and I gave up.  “Then answer the question,” I said.  “Why?”
        “Because I have to have my own life.”


THE SOCIAL COMMENTARY – Remarks, usually negative and disapproving, about the way society is going. 
        “Yet in our times the thick wad of credit cards is a cachet of respectability, something more useful to me than any questionable convenience.  When a cop lays upon you the white eye, and you stand there hunting for a driver’s license as identification, and he watches you fumble through AmEx, Diners, Carte Blanche, Air Travel, Sheraton, Shell, Gulf, Phillips, Standard, Avis and Texaco before you find it, he is reassured.”


THE PHILOSOPHICAL COMMENTARY – Remarks about humanity and human nature on the whole. 
        “In one lifetime how many times can it be like that, be a ceremony that becomes so unrelated to the flesh that I had the feeling I felt disembodied in the night sky, halfway between sea and stars, looking down upon a tiny cutaway cottage, at two figures there in the theater of moonlight caught in a slow unending dance to the doubled hearted, a counterpoint in offstage drums.  But there is a time to fall out of the sky, and a fall from that height makes long moments of half-light, of knowing and not knowing, of being and dying.”














No comments:

Post a Comment