Thursday, January 1, 2009

R.I.P. Donald E. Westlake

Very sad. Westlake was a great artisan, capable of wit that's rare in U.S.ian novels. I rank his novel Dancing Aztecs alongside Delany's Motion of Light in Water and Ellen Raskin's The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues as exemplars of the "love letter to New York City" genre. Readers of this blog might like his more overtly anti-misogynist novels, Trust Me on This and Baby, Would I Lie?. And the two dozen novels he wrote as Richard Stark stand as refutations to the old canard that genre fiction written to a strict formula is artistically inferior to other kinds of writing: indeed, I have twice heard someone challenge that claim with "What about Richard Stark?"

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