“Don’t you feel sorry for those PW reviewers?”: November 15, 2008God bless you, Lily Courthope! So what is this thing we call ‘screwball noir’, people? Examples, please …
This is not the first time that I’ve marvelled at the staid, moribund quality of a PW review. I’m pretty sure that if an author isn’t named Hemingway, Fitzgerald or Faulkner, they just don’t get it.
And that’s too bad because author Declan Burke has created a frantically paced comedy of errors that is a lot of fun to read. No, I won’t be writing a thesis any time soon about kidnapper Ray’s probable identity crisis, but when was the last time you read a line as funny as the one (right near the end of the book) in which he at last reveals his true identity? And that line is just the froth on this comic concoction.
This book reminds me of some of my favourite movies: Libelled Lady, His Girl Friday, and of more recent origin, Snatch. Screwballs, every one of them. Some darker than others, some more romantic, but all of them with wild plot turns and breath-catching scenes that keep the viewer/reader fixed in place, waiting for the next laugh.
If you’re looking for deep meaning and deathless prose, go check out the latest bestselling, yawn-worthy, overwrought work of ‘literature’ (or even another PW review); if you’re looking for a good time, call 1-800-THE BIG O.
Praise for Declan Burke: “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – The Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “A hardboiled delight.” – The Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review). “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre, was ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL.” – Sunday Times. “The writing is a joy.” – Ken Bruen. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
What Is This Thing We Call ‘Screwball Noir’?
Yep, it’s self-aggrandizing Saturday, this week courtesy of Lily Courthope over at Amazon.com. Lily, bless her, has taken umbrage at the Publishers Weekly review of our humble tome (right), and takes them to task thusly: