Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ain't love grand

Just this week I started reading Art Taylor's On the Road with Del and Louise. This is Taylor's first book - he's published a bunch of short stories - and it comes from a small Dallas specialty publisher. Nonetheless, it's got a reputation already. It took a while for the library system's copy to become available. Last night a barista told me it was one of her favorite books when she saw it in my hand.

The titular couple are lovers on the road. They met when he was robbing the 7-Eleven she worked at. They tend to straddle the line, one foot on the right side of the law, the other not. He was pulling heists to pay for tuition, by the way. Their life sees them solving crimes and committing them at about the same time.

Henery Press, the publisher, specializes in mystery. This book does fall under the broad category of crime fiction. The shambolic tales defy genre expectations, though. They're marked by low-key charm and a feel for the West.


susan said...

You've made the book sound like a pretty interesting one to put on the reading list.

I've read a couple of very different but both fascinating (in their own ways) mystery novels these past few weeks. The first was Dashiel Hammet's 'Red Harvest' - an absolutely over the top, maniacal non-stop action extravaganza featuring the 'continental op'. To say he was a man without any conpunctions about using violent and even dishonest methods to establish order in 'Poisonville' would be an understatement.

The other book was very different and strangely beautiful, 'My Name is Red' by Orhan Pamuk. This is not a traditional murder mystery, but the mystery is good enough to hold the plot together while Pamuk brilliantly weaves his ideas on art, culture, religion and history into the narrative. The mystery is centered around who killed a gifted minaturist and his patron who were engaged in preparing a special book for the Ottoman sultan. Told from the point of view of multiple protagonists - beginning with a corpse - the special book itself may or may not be an affront to Islam. Pamuk weaves some thought-provoking ideas on the role of religion in art and everyday life. Truth to tell, it wasn't always an easy read for me, one reason being that it often appeared the translation wasn't the best and a number of characters sounded the same. I won't be eager to read more of his work but this one had been on my list for a long time and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it.

Ben said...

I would recommend it. Taylor takes a different approach to writing crime fiction, and it's got a real charm.

Nice color scheme you've got there. :) Embarrassingly enough I haven't really red much of Hammett. A Sam Spade story, but that's about it. So I haven't read Red Harvest. The movie Yojimbo, which is kind of based on it, I have seen. Actually I think I saw it with you. And it's been said the book influenced the Coen Brothers' Miller's Crossing.

My Name is Red is another story. I actually have read that one. It's one of three Pamuk novels - off the top of my head - that I have read. Sort of strikes me as the most successful as well. You're right that it raises some interesting questions about the place of religion, as well as the place of art, and what happens when they come into apparent conflict (or at least some people insisting they're in conflict). The multiple viewpoints in the book interest me as well.