Monday, June 25, 2007

Delayed weekend paper highlights

A couple of interesting pieces in The Guardian at the weekend, which are worth mentioning. The first, an interview with Gunter Grass, was part of the author’s media blitz to try and promote his autobiography Peeling the Onion but it contained one insight into the art of biography that others, particularly celebrities would be wise to ponder:

“There are some authors who think they have to write their autobiography at the age of 30. I had to be 80.”

“Writers know that sometimes things are there in the drawer for decades before they finally come out and you are capable of writing about them.”

The other article that was enjoyable, partly because of the current reading of Chandler, was a piece by American crime author Sara Paretsky. She argued that there had always been a mythical appreciation of the strong loner in America and Chandler along with Dashiell Hammett were able to deliver great models of that character in their books.

“Chandler thought of Marlowe as a knight. Like all romantic knights marlow takes justice into his own hands. We ordinary people trust knights because they are working on the side of right against people who may be perverting the law.”

But she comments on the price these hard boiled detectives pay for being the lone crime fighters and Marlowe, Chandler’s most famous creation is no exception:

“When I revisit Chandler’s novels, Marlowe’s loneliness stands out in a physically painful way. Except for an occasional chess game with someone in the police department, he is alone all the time.”

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