Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Tony Hiss on Ross Thomas

I bought this 2003 edition of Ross Thomas' 1971 novel The Fools in Town Are on Our Side because of Tony Hiss' introduction.

I already had an older edition of the book lying around, but Hiss shed light on some of what I liked so much about Thomas' The Seersucker Whipsaw. Take it away, Tony:
"(S)o many new bad things have happened since 1995 that the Cold War years Thomas chronicled so brilliantly and mockingly have started to seem far tamer than they were. As `orphans of the Cold War'—Thomas’s own phrase, in an interview he gave during the last year of his life—his books have been slipping out of print, even though, as Thomas was quick to point out, `fraud and double-dealing for political or personal advantage are age-old themes that will not become extinct.' 
"... a biting, bracing wind blow(s) through Thomas’s books, sometimes at gale force, sometimes only stirring at the curtains, a kind of healing bleakness. ... The underlying tonic in Thomas’s books—his lesson plan for transcending the intolerable—isn’t pushed forward, and many readers may find themselves content in simply taking pleasure from his immense storytelling gifts, which dazzle all the more because they are so seemingly tossed-off."

And now, on to the book.

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

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9 Comments:

Anonymous solo said...

I bought this 2003 edition of Ross Thomas' 1971 novel The Fools in Town Are on Our Side because of Tony Hiss' introduction

If Thomas did indeed chronicle the Cold War years, there is something rather strange about the son of Alger Hiss providing the intro to The Fools In Town Are On Our Side.

What do you think, Peter? Was Alger Hiss guilty?

November 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't know if Hiss was guilty, but yes, I did notice whose son Tony Hiss was. I suspect he has written about his father.

November 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yep, he has. It's a bit of an advantage for one's writing career to have a father like that.

November 02, 2011  
Anonymous solo said...

Tony Hiss has a couple of memoirs under his belt. Not surprising, given his background.

Not sure about his intro, though. He says the book has 'a kind of healing bleakness.' Hmmm. I wonder, does Healing Bleakness come in a bottle? Has it been licensed by the FDA?

I bought this 2003 edition of Ross Thomas' 1971 novel The Fools in Town Are on Our Side because of Tony Hiss' introduction

The underlying tonic in Thomas’s books

A rather obvious difference in your use of the possessive and Tony Hiss'/Tony Hiss's use of the possessive. I have to confess I prefer his to yours.

November 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

In a moment of weakness, I let my newspaper's style on the possessive slip into my own writing. I prefer Hiss's (or rather, St. Martin Minotaur's) way of forming the possessive as well.

Healing Bleakness sounds like a band that plays rock and roll on acoustic guitars. Having read just one Ross Thomas novel, I can't say whether his work was bleak or his bleakness healing. I do like the bit about the bracing wind that blows "sometimes at gale force, sometimes only stirring at the curtains," though.

November 02, 2011  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Dear Mr. Copyeditor,

What do you think of the use of the word "nowadays," nowadays?

I don't like it. What might I use in its place?

Signed,

Don't Want to Sound Like a Hick

November 03, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Hmm, I suppose "nowadays" has something musty about it. I don't know what one could use instead. "In these times in which we iive," maybe.

November 03, 2011  
Anonymous Linkmeister said...

"Ratcheer, ratnow."

November 07, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Just as long as no one suggests "At this point in time."

November 07, 2011  

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