Thursday, July 14, 2005

In 2050

some American Studies PhD student is going to write a dissertation that will finally explain for once and for all why late 20th- and early 21st-century American fiction is so full of insanely implausible and highly stylized serial-killer thrillers. In the meantime I have a high tolerance for them; last night I started reading Jonathan Santlofer's latest, was very mildly put off in the opening pages of The Killing Art (to be published in November) by a bit too much lecturing about the New York School painters and then ended up completely caught up in his story-telling--the next thing I knew it was very, very late and I was turning the last page. Santlofer doesn't have a truly macabre imagination, you never really feel scared here (partly because the violence is so baroque and over-the-top), but his main character is appealing and the whole thing is just done to a high standard--he's a more than competent prose writer, the New York and art scene stuff is for once wholly convincing and he's got an excellent sense of pacing.


  1. That's one dissertation I'd read the minute it was published!

  2. Sheesh, what can you do. I'm in the middle of writing one. Didn't know they were so common.

  3. I really love serial killer novels - I've always thought that they were about narrativizing what is otherwise chaos. As in: if you can unravel the killer's narrative you solve the crime because you can anticipate it. Drive-by shootings and random acts of violence are a lot scarier.

  4. This one is for Jenny:
    Glad THE KILLING ART kept you reading, Jenny. It's all I can hope for. I'll look for one of your books.
    Jonathan Santlofer