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Authors > Jim Thompson

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message 1: by Martyn (last edited Jun 10, 2010 03:14PM) (new)

Martyn | 299 comments Today I finished reading Jim Thompson's A Swell-Looking Babe. The reason for my sudden interest in Thompson has been due to Michael Winterbottom's new movie 'The Killer Inside Me', based on Thompson's book.

I hot-footed it to my local library on Monday and grabbed Pop. 1280 and A Swell-Looking Babe off the shelf. I decided to read A Swell-Looking Babe first because I just love the title! I always liked the American use of 'swell'...it's very endearing. It's the kind of word David Lynch would use.

Anyway, I'd known of Thompson's work for a very long time, but never thought to read it. I knew he'd worked with Kubrick on The Killing and he'd had movie adaptations of his work done in the past. Including that rubbish but highly watchable 1990s version of The Getaway.

The major thing I noticed about A Swell-Looking Babe was its role reversal: the femme fatale really only exists in the character's mind with all his, frankly, disturbing sexual mores. He runs through a whole gamut of possibilities of her love, treachery and mystery...but never gets to any real truth. Everything is in doubt...which was great to read and made it a real page-turner without it being daft.

Marcia is like a ghost in many ways...her realness is very remote...very abstract...and we only see her as the living embodiment of Bill's dead mother...which is very groteque...especially as Thompson describes Bill's child-like holding and clinging to her...and that he can't have sex with her either. I love how she played the gangsters and Bill too...and for good reason. Again, she's not the typical gangster's moll or really a femme fatale at all in the traditional sense.

The lead character is not the most likeable chap in the world - in fact, I hated him from the start...but the plot is so intriguing and there's so many twists and turns.

I suppose there's two stories going and to be honest, I liked the hotel heist less than this fucked-up family story about a man slowly killing his father and longing for his dead mother. Plus, what a bleak final paragraph!

In all, it's a great book. Now on to Pop. 1280!


message 2: by Patrick, The Special School Bus Rider (new)

Patrick (horrorshow) | 269 comments Mod
Jeez, now I wanna go to library and get these two books.


message 3: by Martyn (new)

Martyn | 299 comments I've just finished The Getaway this afternoon. In a bit of a Thompson obsession at the moment. This dude was a damn fine fucking writer.


message 4: by Patrick, The Special School Bus Rider (last edited Jun 15, 2010 02:06PM) (new)

Patrick (horrorshow) | 269 comments Mod
Yeah, I plan to read up on the two of the mentioned novels. I got them at the library. They looked thin and seem detailed at the same time, a sign of a fine writer.


message 5: by Patrick, The Special School Bus Rider (last edited Jun 20, 2010 12:11PM) (new)

Patrick (horrorshow) | 269 comments Mod
I read his novel, Pop. 1280 and while on the surface it looks like plain and simple (but fine) writing, Jim Thompson seems to reveal what a psychopath the sheriff is.


(SPOILER ALERT!) The ending really is emptied of morality and righteous justice.


message 6: by Martyn (new)

Martyn | 299 comments I'm reading the Killer Inside Me at the moment.


message 7: by Martyn (new)

Martyn | 299 comments Okay, my Jim Thompson obsession continues and I finally read Pop. 1280. It's got one of the funniest, meanest characters ever. Nick Corey is a first class bastard.


message 8: by Martyn (new)

Martyn | 299 comments I finished The Killer Inside Me and it was least favourite of the four I've read so far. Still very good, mind.


message 9: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
I recently saw the film version of The Killer Inside Me and thought it was really well done.

I know it's not for everyone, and there were a couple of scenes that were really brutal, but I still thought the film was good.


message 10: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Friend (jeffshana) Not excited about the casting of Jessica Alba.


message 11: by Tom (new)

Tom Hansen | 7 comments Just finished The Killer Inside Me and A Hell of a Woman. Both really good. Thompson is a master of the unreliable narrator. The ending of 'Woman' was amazing


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