Monday, July 24, 2006

Just tired

Janet Maslin on George Pelecanos's latest at the NYT. Oh, I must get a copy of The Night Gardener, Pelecanos is on my very short list of particular favorite US crime writers--I remember first reading him about five years ago, my friend M. loaned me a stack of paperbacks and I basically read them in a greedy frenzy of book-addiction. They are extraordinarily striking in their detail: I always remember this one scene (can't tell you which book it is) where we hear about how in the Greek diners of the 1970s the Heinz bottles on the tables are filled with own-brand ketchup as an economy measure. Also every time I listen to P. J. Harvey I think of one of the relationships that Pelecanos details by way of music--the music in these books is particularly well chosen, in fact if rights were simpler (the technology is already there) these books would come with CDs or passwords that would let you have the soundtrack on your iPod....

(NB the book's title is like a mashup between two John LeCarre titles, that is not good!)


  1. Pelecanos is also one of the main writers on The Wire, the best show on television. Though I think his writing is actually a little more heavy-handed than his cowriters'.

  2. I've never seen it, I just somehow don't watch TV (not on principle, somehow it doesn't seem to happen), but I will add "The Wire" to my conjectural list of TV-seasons-on-DVD that I am saving for some month of complete mental breakdown & inability to concentrate. It is ridiculous given my strong taste for urban fantasy and YA fare, for instance, but I have never seen even a single episode of Buffy. TV has more in common with novels than movies do, the kind of character and plot work that can happen over a whole season is much more closely akin to the scope of the novel than what movies can do in under two hours. (Only some crime fiction, for instance, is more like a movie: when you've got a very focused story in a limited time-frame, I mean.)

  3. I'm not much of a booster of most tv, but I do think The Wire is something special, in terms of its scope, dramatic arc, and verisimilitude. It's probably the tightest series of 13-hour epics (absolutely no subplots) that have ever been made. I.e., the novel comparison is more appropriate than with any other show.