“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.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Brief And Largely Pointless Exercise In Reverse Snobbery

Now, we’re not likely to quibble with about fifteen eighteenths of Elizabeth Hodgson’s big-up of John Brady’s A Carra King in the Canadian Literature Quarterly, seeing as it runneth thusly:
“For hard-boiled detective fiction, definitely see A Carra King, by John Brady. Brady’s hefty novel is the sixth in his series starring Matt Minogue, a detective with the Dublin police force. Brady’s determinedly authentic Dublin-speak takes some getting used to, as does his terse, laconic style, but the novel is definitely worth the effort. A Carra King is intelligent, sophisticated in its plotting and prose, intensely atmospheric and detailed, and packed with characters whose individuality and humanity are richly satisfying. If a novel is a work of fiction which brings a world to life, A Carra King definitely deserves to be considered a novel first and “detective fiction” second.”
Okay, commence inquibbilating. Like, why a novel first and “detective fiction” second? Why “detective fiction” in those jazzy little inverted commas that suggest the pages were turned with a telescopic tweezers while a clothes-peg remained firmly clamped on the reader’s nose? Why the need to differentiate at all? Could it be that high-brow literature’s superiority complex masks, as it generally tends to do, an inferiority complex? Because as far as we can make out, there’s only one essential difference between well-written ‘literature’ and ‘crime fiction’. Crime fiction sells. High-brow doesn’t. Ask Benny Blanco.

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