The book is terrific, and, surprisingly, scarier than the much-acclaimed PBS "Frontline" documentary the authors also made. Why scarier? Well, to be fThe book is terrific, and, surprisingly, scarier than the much-acclaimed PBS "Frontline" documentary the authors also made. Why scarier? Well, to be frank -- the doctors who come off as heroic in the documentary are a little more....human, here, for better or worse. I hate to be cynical - but the possibility that things are a little more complicated than a David versus Goliath story compels me. The NFL's money taints everything, including even the ostensible research of CTE - the one million dollars the NFL gifted to the BU brain bank, and their resident wheeler dealer Chris Nowinski, does not seem quite as innocent as it first seemed.
This book asks some hard questions which need to be repeatedly asked, again and again. We are far from the conclusion of this story, and it's going to be much dirtier and with fewer clean hands than Hollywood would have us believe....more
I started an experiment of reading books based off whether I like the author, picking a book, and reading nothing about the plot, not even what was onI started an experiment of reading books based off whether I like the author, picking a book, and reading nothing about the plot, not even what was on the back cover. The experiment was a success! I have a resentment against Camus and Sartre for reasons not entirely clear to me, except to say that Sartre is soooooo borrrrrrinnnng (yes, that matters and is a valid complaint) and Sartre is sooooooo humorlessssss (also, in my opinion, valid). I wouldn't call Simenon humorless, exactly (exceedingly grim, but in a slightly acid way that'd almost funny if things were a shade lighter) or boring (though the machinations of the last third of the book test that).
What I would say then, is that Simenon's great skill is -- he knows people. He gets them. And he gets what a criminal is, really. It was with a growing sense of appreciation that I realized the protagonist of this book, Frank, is a vile, stupid asshole - and moreover, that we as readers are *supposed* to think that. Under the circumstances, Frank's perdition is as dramatic as it can be - which is to say, not that dramatic. Simenon's too realistic to make anyone in the book too evil or too good. It's really a remarkable book, and I'd dare say, maybe even better than The Stranger, though much less well-known.
BTW -- ignore the afterword by William Vollmann, a terrible writer who has made a cottage industry out of getting his name on true classics for the foreword/afterword. He's done this with Celine, Malcolm Lowry, and now Simenon -- editors, please, kick this con artist out of his racket....more
I blame Truman Capote for the predicament an honest true crime writer faces today. Sure, you could hew to the truly trashy low road, like any number oI blame Truman Capote for the predicament an honest true crime writer faces today. Sure, you could hew to the truly trashy low road, like any number of authors did in recounting the strange case of Ted Bundy, but the quality of most of those books seems plodding at best. You could shoot also for the high road, the "literary" true crime story, but in many respects, this is even more aggrieving; "The Executioner's Song," while good, is 1,000 pages long, and unnecessarily so, "In Cold Blood" seems mostly like the fabrication of a big city grifter, and the recent and much beloved "Serial" podcast is a formless, lifeless shaggy dog whose doleful subject is probably completely guilty as charged. So what to do?
Well, the answer is to write something like this book. It would make sense that the best book on Bundy would be by two journalists. But what grace the story is told with! Structurally, it is brilliantly plotted -- the revelations of Bundy's life, cutting back and forth to his jailhouse perdition, his escapes, his hunting, his pursuit, his final explosion. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say I can't recall reading a true crime book more insightful into the nature and thoughts of a psychopath -- "The Killer Inside Me" by Jim Thompson being a fictive equal. Great book; but it will stick with you....more
Second-best crime novel ever written? Definitely top five, I would say. Up there with Hammett and the best of Jim Thompson. Not a moment rings false,Second-best crime novel ever written? Definitely top five, I would say. Up there with Hammett and the best of Jim Thompson. Not a moment rings false, right up until the inevitable end.
Eddie Coyle has no friends. Family life in this book is a sick joke. The characters are all hunted rats. It is a true book utterly without any redemption goobledeegook. The book reminds me of a Philip Larkin line -
"Something is pushing them To the side of their own lives."...more
A.J. Liebling, the other contender for "greatest sportswriter ever," strikes me as a ham, his prose greasy and piled high, the sportswriter other hammA.J. Liebling, the other contender for "greatest sportswriter ever," strikes me as a ham, his prose greasy and piled high, the sportswriter other hammy writers like. Heinz is something altogether more mystical and subdued, and thus more powerful. A beautiful writer. I highly recommend this excellent collection for anyone who loves beautiful writing about people, regardless of whether you like sports....more