Monday, April 26, 2010

New York, 1960.

A Drinking Life is the memoir of the writer, Pete Hamill. Devoured it.

You see this, he said, where you say this is a tragedy?


I’m taking it out. And don’t you ever use the fucking word “tragedy” again. You tell what happened, and let the reader say it’s a tragedy. If you’re crying, the reader won’t.

I see what you mean.

You better, he said, taking a drag on the cigarette, then sipping the black coffee. He glanced at the story again.

Maybe in another eight or nine years, you could be pretty good at this miserable trade.

Thanks, I said, and started to leave.

Oh, by the way, Paul Sann said. You’re hired.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

That's what I like to hear.

Man, I read Richard' Condon's Manchurian Candidate and was blown away. So I got around to another candidate, Prizzi's Honor, thinking, "They can't all be this good."

Oh, my God.

Now I'm going to read everything Condon ever wrote. But every time I drop into the used book stores I haunt the answer is the same: There's a name I haven't heard in a long time. I don't see his books so often anymore. I'll keep an eye out for them.

If you've read this blog at all you can probably guess that finding overlooked gems like these in the world of letters is a special thrill for me. So put Condon in the little velvet bag of treasures that includes Trevanian, Maugham, the MacDonalds (John and Gregory), Pete Hamill, Vincent Patrick and others.