“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
The Book Of Evidence: In Which Blandville Solemnly Swears To Tell Nothing But The Pseudonymous Truth
Is John Blandville's (right - nope, your other right) The Book of Evidence a crime novel? Hmmmmm ... The fact that it's as boring as a dog's ass suggests otherwise, but it does read like a Jim Thompson first-person psycho as redrafted by Oscar Wilde. So, maybe. The reviews gave it the the full Camus / Dostoevsky / Nabokov treatment ("Mix Dostoevsky and Camus with a little Beckett and Proust and add Banville's own originality and you have the above work of genius"), and Freddie Montgomery (very loosely based on the notorious Irish killer Malcolm McArthur) is a deliciously unreliable narrator. On the other hand, it was short-listed for the Booker and won the Guinness Peat Aviation Award, and we have the author's / narrator's knowing verdict on crime fiction implied on page 172: "The least I had expected from the enormities of which I was guilty was that they would change my life, that they would make things happen, however awful, that there would be a constant succession of heart-stopping events, of alarms and sudden frights and hairsbreadth escapes." And, well, there isn't. So, no - it's not crime fiction. Which means we still have to review Christine Falls. Bugger. Any takers?