Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pulp According to David Goodis: SOMEBODY DONE FOR

Goodis' final book: despair or breakthrough?

By Jay Gertzman
“There is more ‘redemption’ in Goodis’s novels than might otherwise appear,” wrote William Sherman, who also said, “He does not rule out chance and meaningful coincidence, the unconscious, the fact of our human divinity . . .” Since the desire to see some kind of community and mutuality emerge from exploitation, brutality, and indifference is as deep as faith itself, and just as illusive, Goodis’ attraction to readers may be based on one of their deepest wishes.
In his last novel, however, all that is left is perseverance for which there will be no rescue. Calvin Jander pursues the dancer who, like Celia in Street of no Return, mesmerizes men with her beauty, esp. b/c she, and it (not quite the same thing), are unattainable.
Frozen desire, and Calvin's service to a mother and sister who are no longer loved ones, are all that remain. That, and, perhaps, yearning for an earlier time near Route 40 in the south Jersey swampland, across the Delaware Bay from Dover, Delaware: a time of testing at the point of death, winning battles against menacing and desperate men, and having a few moments of passion with a evasive Delaware Bay princess with secrets so horrific that he could never take her back to Philadelphia.
"Purple Pain": mysterious, impossible, spiritual, and forever. Like the stone, the Amethyst.
One last thing: can you imagine Goodis’ distress as he wrote SDF? Living alone in a big house in which all that remained of his parents was their furniture; having to arrange for Herb’s institutionalization, the care for whom his parents had assigned to him so many years ago; all hope of being with Selma gone. In this situation, he wrote a novel about a future bereft of hope and love. And he had the perseverance—a kind of courage--to do it! Instead of repeating previous patterns of compulsive conduct in his life and novels, he imagined powerfully what they had led to. And he did that all alone, with a kind of assertiveness that pushed back against the pain to move past that point of no return.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

And The Hammett Goes To .........

Dashiell Hammett

The North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers is pleased to announce nominees for their annual HAMMETT PRIZE for a work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by a US or Canadian author. The nominees are as follows: 

The Second Life of Nick Mason, by Steve Hamilton
(G.P. Putnam's Sons)
The Drifter, by Nicholas Petrie (G.P. Putnam's Sons)
The White Devil, by Domenic Stansberry (Molotov Editions)
Revolver, by Duane Swierczynki (Mulholland Books)
The Big Nothing, by Bob Truluck (Murmur House Press)

A reading committee of IACW/NA members selected the nominees, based on recommendations from other members and the publishing community. The committee was headed by Deen Kogan and included Caro Soles, Allen Wyler, and Michael Zimecki. 

The winner will be chosen by three distinguished outside judges: Margot Bettauer Dembo, a professional translator and former winner of the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize; Ron Koltnow, who spent almost 30 years as a sales rep for Putnam and Random House and past winner of Publisher’s Weekly Rep of the Year; David Nasaw, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Professor of History at the CUNY Graduate Center whose most recent book is The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Biography. 

The organization will name the HAMMETT PRIZE winner, during the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association’s (NAIBA) Fall Conference, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, October 6-8. The winner will receive a bronze trophy, designed by sculptor Peter Boiger.