- Exchange between Joe Christopher and Mary Stolzenbach about Sara Paretsky s ... Interesting. I wish I had time to dig out my copy of the book and look at itMessage 1 of 3 , Sep 18, 1999View SourceExchange between Joe Christopher and Mary Stolzenbach about Sara Paretsky's
>> In short, the novelInteresting. I wish I had time to dig out my copy of the book and look at
>> raises interesting questions that apply to your [Edith Crowe's] letter.
>It sure does. I had no objection to the anti-Christian content, I just
>thought (unlike Joe) that GHOST COUNTRY was a perfectly =terrible= piece of
it again. Paretsky, of course, comes out of a private eye-writing
tradition, and I may have been influenced by that (since I have, since grade
school, been a mystery reader). But I really did think it a good job of
fiction. Not at the level of Tim O'Brien's _The Things They Carried_, that
I've just finished teaching in a class, but very good within the genre works
that come my way. If I had time (which I don't, until maybe next summer),
I'd chase down the last couple of Mythopoeic Fiction Award winners, and
re-read Paretsky, and see what I think.
- Well, Joe, here s what I thought when I wrote on most of the MFA nominees for Butterbur s Woodshed #46 (Our discussion-group-by-mail apa which comes out sixMessage 2 of 3 , Sep 18, 1999View SourceWell, Joe, here's what I thought when I wrote on most of the MFA nominees for
Butterbur's Woodshed #46 (Our discussion-group-by-mail apa which comes out
six times per year; email me, or check the link from http://www.mythsoc.org
for details. Room for new members at present.)
<<Ghostland, Sara Paretsky. This book is bad, and bad very much in the
same way as =Shards of Empire= (Shwartz) and =Gibbon's Decline and Fall=
(Tepper) were. Limp writing, repetitiveness (by the middle of the book we
barely have the situation set up), cardboard characters. I hope her popular
mysteries are better written! Most of the surnames are so weird (Stonds?
Ephers? Tammuz? Hanaper? Caduke! Vatick! Wanachs!) as to add to the
overall impression of unreality � and I don't mean fantasy. When the mythic
element finally shows up halfway through, it is way too late, just as in
Shards and Decline.
Dr. Hector Tammuz, our supposed hero, is a total weenie.
How come he, a self-described non-observant Jew, knows to quote scripture?
(p. 18, and this is not the sort of quote that is common coinage.) How come
when he meets Luisa for the second time (p. 67) he seems totally unaware that
he had already met her very recently (p. 38)? How come this resident ready
to drop dead with fatigue and sleeplessness yet has time to keep a wordy and
As for Luisa, can't stand her either. I have never liked to spend time
with protagonists who are alcoholics and/or fiscally irresponsible (this
makes large amounts of Irish literature a closed book to me).
The mystery of the sisters Stonds doesn't intrigue, especially since I
found it impossible to keep the various generations straight; and by the way,
"Beatrix" does not mean "voyager."
Things finally pick up some with the big theophany scene in the church,
but then we drop right back into the Land of Cardboard as the good are
rewarded and the bad get bashed and we leave them all behind � not a minute
- ... Dear Mary-- Impressive. I ll try to look at the book again next summer, and look at it more slowly. I agree that the fantasy element appears late, but IMessage 3 of 3 , Sep 20, 1999View Source
>Well, Joe, here's what I thought when I wrote on most of the MFA nominees forDear Mary--
>Butterbur's Woodshed #46
Impressive. I'll try to look at the book again next summer, and look at it
more slowly. I agree that the fantasy element appears late, but I thought
the sequence of Christ's life used for the fertility goddess gave structure
to the latter part of the book. (The appearance of the goddess after her
physical death in this world as a bird--not a dove!--included the coming of
the Holy Spirit to the Disciples.) I understand, from a comment by Paretsky
in an interview, that the novel was not supposed to be a fantasy originally.
The woman singer who is an alcoholic was, I thought, an interesting
study--not esp. original, but the pattern is a pattern--of a person falling
to the streets. (I must not mind the Irish literature, since I went to
Ireland this summer instead of to Mythcon--but that's a different story.
One of the moderately famous Irish writers I heard quoted during my trip
said, "I'm a serious drinker with a writing problem." So there is certainly
that element.) Cardboard, eh? I'll try to take another look. But not
until next summer.