“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Childish Sense Of Humour

Lee Child doesn’t have much of a reputation for being a funny writer. For all his various talents, no one has ever said to me, ‘Hey, that Lee Child, he’s hilarious.’ But I don’t know. I’m reading THE AFFAIR right now, and maybe it’s just me, but I’m finding Jack Reacher’s deadpan, laconic delivery very funny indeed. To wit:
I finished my breakfast before I spoke again. French toast, maple syrup, coffee. Protein, fibre, carbohydrates. And caffeine. All the essential food groups, except nicotine, but I had already quit by then. I put my silverware down and said, ‘There’s really only one obvious way to cut a woman’s throat …’ (pg 88)
  Like I say, maybe it’s just me.
  Anyway, Lee Child will be in Dublin this coming Wednesday, October 12th, to promote THE AFFAIR. I’ll be sitting down with him for an interview, which is something I’m looking forward to very much, but he’s also doing a few public appearances. He’ll be in the Dubray bookstore on Grafton Street at 1pm, for signings and a chat, and later that evening he’ll be taking part in a public interview at Eason’s on O’Connell Street, the event kicking off at 7.30pm.
  Incidentally, if you haven’t dipped into Lee Child yet, THE AFFAIR would be a good place to start. It’s a prequel-of-sorts, being set in 1997, six months before the first Jack Reacher novel, KILLING FLOOR, and - or so I surmise, being only halfway through at this point - explains how Jack Reacher, currently an undercover MP investigating the murder of a young woman in a Mississippi town, became a loner-drifter.
  Of course, I’m probably preaching to the choir on this one …

3 comments:

Dana King said...

I've read several Child books, and found humor in all. He's not Carl Hiaasen, or even Elmore Leonard, but there's a dry wit in his books that keeps them from becoming run of the mill violent thrillers.,

Glenna said...

I just finished The Affair and really enjoyed it. I did think Child's humor came out more in this one, but I've always thought the Reacher books were funny in that dry humor way I enjoy in a lot of authors I read.

bookwitch said...

Hearing Lee Child speak once when he was quite arrogant about a number of things, and witnessing his offhand way with a signing request, I've long held a dislike for him and - possibly unfairly - for his books.

One of the things he claimed was that he'd gone to a completely normal English school. I recently visited the school, and if he thinks that's normal... Well.