Greg's Reviews > The Jugger

The Jugger by Richard Stark
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's review
Feb 12, 11

bookshelves: crime-fiction, mystery
Read on January 30, 2011

Richard Stark doesn't give much a description of what Parker looks like. He's a big guy with gnarled tree trunks for hands. This description is given in just about all of the early novels.

It's probably safe to think of Parker as looking sort of like a Lee Marvin type, and since he has probably most famously portrayed Parker, maybe this is what some readers use as their mental image:

Some people might like to think of him as a raving wife-beating anti-semite:

Parker has also been portrayed as an African American in The Split:

Or as an older balding white man:

Or as this guy:

And then there is Jean-Luc Godard's take on Parker, one which doesn't jive well with the text itself, but in my opinion is the most attractive of the bunch:

Leave it to the French to portray a sociopath thief as a beautiful woman who is sort of the postergirl of sexy intellectual 1968 French radical chic.

Godard borrowed (stole if you are of the opinion of Donald Westlake AKA Richard Stark) heavily from this novel to make his movie Made in the U.S.A. Westlake prevented this film from ever being shown in the United States, and it wasn't until after his death that it finally premiered in America, and has since been released by Criterion. The book and the movie work together in an interesting way, the technicolor stylization of Godard contrasting with the bleak middle America setting of the novel.

Having seen the movie first, and only about a month or so ago, just before I decided I'd read all of the Parker novels I couldn't help seeing some of Godard's bastardizations in the book. It definitely created a different reading experience than if I had read the novel first.

It made me think about how each of us has a totally different reading experience from one another for any book we read, and reminded me how much memory in my case colors and shapes the way I picture the world a novel is taking place in. I think it would be interesting, although ultimately boring to anyone besides the reader (or at least in my case) to know where people imagine the stories they are reading to take place, how they picture the characters. In my case there are a handful of places and houses from my past that reoccur and work as the setting for most of the books I read (in this case it would be one of my grandmother's houses, which worked out nicely for how the book developed, her basement had just the right features that would be needed in the story, something I had no idea about when I unconsciously started to think of the action taking place there). I'm not sure what triggers between the text and my memories are necessarily at work when this happens, and how much I probably ignore actual description and just jam the setting into some place familiar. I imagine other people do this too, but I have no proof.

This has been a very un-Parker like review. To rectify the situation tonight when I get back from watching grown men beat the shit out of each other I'm going to just sit with the lights off and stare at nothing, an activity that Parker seems to genuinely enjoy.

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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by karen (new)

karen but you could see grown men beat the shit out of each other here!! at work!! just get someone to call fiechter a faggot again!!

Greg I know. There was some kind of yelling argument in the cafe last night between customers. And a mother and daughter who Truc moved were yelly. The mother kept cursing at her, and then they moved to one of the art tables to look at their astrology books and when William asked her to move the mother flipped out again and threw the astrology book. People were punchy yesterday.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Your job finally sounds like mine.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio FINALLY.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Did either of you have to perform a Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) restraint? A standing hold? Extended restriction? Team restraint?

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Don't forget Dolph Lundgren's portrayal of Parker:

message 7: by karen (new)

karen MyFleshSingsOut wrote: "Did either of you have to perform a Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) restraint? A standing hold? Extended restriction? Team restraint?"

greg's mom does all of those on request.

Greg Yesterday was the first time since I worked there that someone working in the store physically did something to a customer.

I'm not sure if that is based on a Parker novel, but it looks like an excellent movie.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio I'm starting to understand physical violence more now. It might be helpful for some people. Like in a Fight Club kinda way. Self-help through face punching. Language and rational discourse are total failures for some people. For them we should allow things to be settled with fisticuffs. Like in the good ol' days. Only problem now is that people grab guns instead. Never mind. Violence is still bad.

message 10: by karen (new)

karen but that lady said i threw a book at her one time, and then there was the man who tried to punch me but i shut him down. and there have been plenty of customer-on-customer altercations. and spitty. it's no mfso-lifestyle, but sometimes it is amusing.

message 11: by Mariel (new)

Mariel I have never seen Made in the USA. How did that happen?

Noooo not Peter Coyote!

message 12: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! karen wrote: "MyFleshSingsOut wrote: "Did either of you have to perform a Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) restraint? A standing hold? Extended restriction? Team restraint?"

greg's mom does all of those on request"

MFSO works with Greg's mom?

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