Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Adjustment: Scott Phillips says things funny

It may not be kosher to cite an author's personal inscription when discussing his book, but in this case the message is very much in the style of the novel that follows:
"To Peter `Fuck Peter Rozovsky' Rozovsky — the real father of NOIR@ the BAR
from your pal,
Scott Phillips"
The profanity is an allusion to the equally earthy thanks Phillips and Jedidiah Ayres sent my way in their Noir at the Bar anthology, and the repetition of the names is typical Phillips: He writes things funny rather than merely writing funny things. And that's why his new novel, The Adjustment, an increasingly dark tale of a Wichita man's involvement in addiction, infidelity, blackmail and killing, is laugh-out-loud funny even when the action is not particularly so:
"`Shut your noisemaker,' Red said. `You don't determine what gets discussed.' He gestured to her. `Wayne, this here's my wife, Betty.'"
Sorry, but I horselaughed when I read that, just as I did at:
"I had made a nice illicit bundle off of Uncle Sam. In the little safe in the basement that contained among other things my discharge papers and my Purple Heart — probably the only one ever awarded for getting stabbed by a rival pimp — was a whole lot of illicit cash I'd managed to smuggle back from Europe."
The book reminds me a bit of Charles Willeford's The Shark-Infested Custard. Each is the story of an everyday working man, or men, who get  involved in criminal matters, and each uses its characters to create a vivid sense of place, Florida in Willeford's book, post-World War II Wichita, Kansas, in Phillips'. But The Adjustment is darker and funnier and maybe sadder, and I like it better.

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

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12 Comments:

Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Yet another one to add to my reading list ...

October 19, 2011  
Blogger Dana King said...

Scott's on my short "must read" list; THE ADJUSTMENT is queued up and ready for my next batch of purchases. There aren't too many authors I can say have never disappointed me; Scott is one of them.

October 19, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

I don't get it. And there's something wrong with that last quote. Grammarwise.

WV: citerate

October 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Loren, Phillips also wrote The Ice Harvest, which was made into a movie that starred John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton. The book and the movie are both good. Do you know them?

October 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I.J., try it now. I had mistyped one word when copying the passage, and I've now corrected it.

October 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dana, I didn't mention that the Wayne in one of the the passages I quoted is Wayne Ogden. I read an interview or article in which Phillips sketched out all the who's whos of his novels -- whose grandfather in one book is the young protagonist in another and so on. If I can remember where I read it -- and if it's online -- maybe I'll post a link.

October 19, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

It's fine now. Didn't know if it was you or the author.

October 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I need a good proofreader.

October 19, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

:)

So do I.

October 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

We all do, but-- Wait. Don't get me started.

October 19, 2011  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Peter,

Alas, I'm not familiar with that one. Do you think I should pick it up prior to The Adjustment?

October 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Chronological order is unnecessary.

October 20, 2011  

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