Saturday, June 9, 2018

PULP ACCORDING TO DAVID GOODIS by Jay Gertzman is almost ready for consumption for Goodis fan's everywhere!

Please note: In a week or so, there should be a pre-publication order page for the print book of Pulp 

According to David Goodis  at the Down and Out Bookstore 

website ( 

(The Ebook can’t be pre-ordered until 90 days before 


      In this issue: for Goodis' daring incest novel, Of Tender Sin, scroll directly below the image of the novel's cover.
     For the writer's treatment of a femme fatale of biblical proportions, scroll down or press on Lilith  (naked lady).

The image above shows a beautiful young teenager on either cover. But, when the book is fully opened, she is transformed into a child-monster. It is the work of the brilliant London-based designer [Jamie] Keenan.

Of Tender Sin (paperback original, Fawcett Gold Medal, 1952) is Goodis' most experimental novel, although he returned to the theme of incest several times.
The tender sin refers to the brother-sister  incest. Al Darby and his sister were each other's "favorite person." She was trying tenderly to calm him when he saw her with her boyfriend, and Al got inflamed with lust. (He was 12; she was 15). Repressed, the event had been festering until one night, after a screaming argument with his nonplussed wife Vivian, Al has a "shattered dream," in which he saw an indistinct face of a woman with platinum blonde hair.  
French pbk with alternate title

That matched his sister's hair color, and also that of Geraldine, a attractive, dominating individual who enraptured him until he met and married Vivian. He returns to the dark, narrow house in working-class Kensington where he last saw her. She had been waiting for him, uncannily dressed in the same settled as when he left her six years earlier. Of course she is a platinum blonde. "This time you won't get away."
     Their mutual lust is more luridly described than that of the incestuous episode: “It was like crawling through a furnace, in the depths of the orange glow, down and down to where the fire was hottest. Then there was her wailing laugh that climbed and climbed until it broke ."
Geraldine is a symbol, or symptom, of Al's guilt. As a horror motif, readers would be familiar with the uncanny. There is lots of horror in pulp crime: Thompson, Woodrich, McCoy, Robert Edmund Alter, and  Elliott Chaze. See
Goodis' evocative prose, as in the sample quoted above, is fine for it.  Geraldine carves her initials in his chest, sends him out into a blizzard for a can of her favorite coffee, appears out of shadows in the same clothes as six years earlier, and finally orders him to join her in pushing cocaine to school children.  
Lilith was Adam's first mate, but due to her demand for equal status, she was banished to the pagan hinterlands, where she became the consort of Samael (Satan). Perhaps that's Samael in the painting above. She enticed and destroyed men, similar to the Sirens in Homer. Her special talent was preventing women from having normal childbirth experiences. Goodis alludes to this when Geraldine wants him to sell cocaine to school children, which would almost certainly shorten their life span. Often she and Samael kidnapped babies, replacing them with evil-souled creatures--see Keenan's illustration for the novel above.
   Blood is a kind of food and drink to her, especially Al’s, as her first and most insistent sexual turn-on is the carving of her “G” in his chest. Only when her sadism is most irresistible to Al does she call him “darling.”
    I discuss other allusions that show Goodis' knowledge of the myth in my book.
    Geraldine is Al Darby's self-imposed torture for that forcing of his sister (after which he never saw her again). His nobility is in that very need to atone, which drew him in nightmare canniness to snowed-in, ice-bound Kensington and her old dark house, a kind of time warp. He was there 6 years before, and perhaps, if one's fate is set in ancient stone, as seems true with  Goodis' ensnared protagonists, prisoners of sex, he was always there. Does he escape?

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