Darwin8u's Reviews > One Fearful Yellow Eye: A Travis McGee Novel

One Fearful Yellow Eye by John D. MacDonald
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bookshelves: 2017, american, crime, fiction

"A man will let his money be taken only when the alternative is something he cannot endure."
- John D. MacDonald, One Fearful Yellow Eye

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McGee does Chicago. I liked it, but didn't love it. Sometimes MacDonald takes McGee away from Florida and it seems to almost work, but I still think I prefer McGee on a boat to McGee in Chicago, in the snow. As a favor to an old flame, McGee goes to Chicago because her ex-husband's estate has been emptied and the relatives all think she did it. McGee looks into the hows and whys of the money disappearing. McGee's views (and I'd presume to a bit MacDonald's) on homosexuals and Blacks appear in this novel and they are nearly there, but only reach the uncanny valley of sensitivity towards other groups:

"I'm always skeptical of the male who makes a big public deal about how he hates fairies, how they turn his stomach, how he'd like to beat the hell out of them. The queens are certainly distasteful, but the average homosexual in the visual and performing arts is usually a human being a little bit brighter and more perceptive than most."

I have to remind myself that this was published in 1966. He is growing. Language like that was seen as progressive in the 60s, in certain circles. Hell, language like that might sound progressive in Texas, Idaho, or Arizona in certain circles now. I seem to always find areas where MacDonald nearly writes a perfect novel, but a couple things just block it for me. He is one of those writers I keep coming back from and keep ending up just a bit frustrated (and not just because I keep wanting to enroll him in sensitivty training classes). His books have the potential for real genius and the more I read the more I see this potential. Individually, however, this book doesn't get close.
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Reading Progress

December 29, 2016 – Shelved
December 29, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
October 31, 2017 – Started Reading
October 31, 2017 –
page 140
46.05%
November 1, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017
November 1, 2017 – Finished Reading
June 1, 2018 – Shelved as: american
June 1, 2018 – Shelved as: crime
June 1, 2018 – Shelved as: fiction

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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Greg I certainly didn't like Chicago (and like you don't care for McGee there either), and prefer to live far south, and not to far from McGee's fabled busted flush. As to your quote about homosexuals, McGee does add,"The Man who knows that his preference are solidly heterosexual has no need to go about thumping everybody who lisps. " Which maybe is borderline acceptance on MacDonald's part, but I don't believe for a second McGee himself thinks all gay men have lisps. Odd, McGee feels ahead of his time than his own author.


Darwin8u I agree, he does seem ahead of much of our time too. But while I absolutely enjoy his economics, environmentalism, and libertarian tendencies - his views on race, sex, and gender (despite behind ahead of his time) still tend to erode his books just a bit.


Greg Darwin8u wrote: "I agree, he does seem ahead of much of our time too. But while I absolutely enjoy his economics, environmentalism, and libertarian tendencies - his views on race, sex, and gender (despite behind ah..."

Agreed, the author's voice, and McGhee's, occasionally just say the absolute wrong thing and can cause a reader (at least, me) to check out of the story momentarily and remind myself "Okay, it's 1968, still no excuse though." I know Raymond Chandler is considered by many to be a great writer, but his racism is ugly. So ugly, in fact, that I couldn't get past page 5 of his second book. A later one, "Playback" from 1958, has Chandler dialing back on racism and sexism. Then again, in "Red Wind" there are just some completely odd lines like, "After a while 2 men came with a basket. Lew Petrolle (petroleum???) was still polishing his glass and talking to the short dark dick," and I question what, exactly, is he even talking about.


Darwin8u Greg wrote: "Darwin8u wrote: "I agree, he does seem ahead of much of our time too. But while I absolutely enjoy his economics, environmentalism, and libertarian tendencies - his views on race, sex, and gender (..."

I don't think I've ever used Chander in my reviews of MacDonald, but I totally agree and have linked them in my mind before. You and I are on the same page here. There is a reason why I bitch and moan, but still read ALL of JDMcD's Travis McGee novels.


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