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Another fine mess

Reader fan critic teacher reader fan.

Currently reading

Ottessa Moshfegh
Knife Fight and Other Struggles
David Nickle
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Andrew Solomon
The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (New Edition)
Derek Bok
Dissident Gardens
Jonathan Lethem
Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s
Kim Newman
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
James Gleick
Complete Novels
Dashiell Hammett, Steven Marcus
Straight Cut (Hard Case Crime #21) - Madison Smartt Bell While this book never dazzled, or developed much reach beyond the straight-line semi-pulp of its alcohol-soaked narrator's voice, I was drawn in and along by Bell's clear, engaging writing. A film editor is called out of retirement by an old sort-of, shady friend, sent on a mission to cut away and through the mess in a documentary film on junkies in Rome. Like many such plots, without ballooning into allegory, the mess and the cutting through replicate in other plot entanglements (smuggling drugs and money) and in the undercurrents of existentialist chatter which seep through the narrator's boozy reflections. (He reads Kierkegaard, which is maybe laying it on a bit thick.)

My favorite bits were the no-nonsense (and almost no-exposition) accounts of the machinery and methodology of film editing; without that hook, the book reminded me (to its comparative detriment) of James Crumley. I was leaning between ok and liked, and I think I'll bump low (reminding myself again of Crumley, I think less fondly of the book), so ok--but it was a decent novel, and an interesting character-driven contrast to what the Hard Case cover might have suggested.