Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New Zealand crime writer in the Philadelphia Inquirer

My review of Paul Cleave's The Laughterhouse appears in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.

This New Zealand crime writer knows what he's doing, and I had fun with this review. Take a look.

© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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18 Comments:

Blogger seana graham said...

Nice piece. I hate 'referenced' too, but few others would.

December 30, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. After reading the piece, a wiseass colleague of mine left a photocopied a dictionary entry that traced "reference" as a verb back to 1898. Happily, he did so with tongue in cheek.

One reporter here uses "reference" as a verb, and it sometimes gets in the paper that way if someone other than me is the story's copy editor. Happily, he's a good reporter and writer, and that is his only flaw that comes to mind.

December 30, 2012  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

Great piece. I always enjoy reading your newspaper pieces. They're a different style than your blog writing, of course. You mentioned David Peace -- he's another author I've bought and not yet read. (At work we call that "glomming." I know it has other meanings, but we mean obsessively collecting the books of someone you have not yet read.

December 30, 2012  
Blogger seana graham said...

Glomming is a great word,Kelly. Unlike referenced.

December 30, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Is that an idiosyncratic use of "glomming"? It seems to me that I've read the word in 1950s crime novels meaning "fasten onto," as in "My eyes glommed onto the jewels that floated on her graceful white neck. Precious! The jewels were nice, too."

Thanks for the compliment. I enjoyed writing this piece, and I hope that showed.

December 30, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, what do you know about glomming in either of these senses? I will glom into Confessions of Ignorance to find out.

December 30, 2012  
Blogger seana graham said...

Glom will be a good one to do, though I have a few to do ahead of that...

December 30, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I would agree that no particular urgency surrounds glom of glomming.

December 30, 2012  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

Peter, we just made that meaning up. Rather like Humpty Dumpty ("When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.") I can't remember who started it, but it's a handy word to have at the bookstore. ("Did you glom all the Murakamis yet?" "Wasn't someone here glomming Padgett Powell?" And then, the ever-popular, "Oh, I haven't read any. Just glomming.")

December 30, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It's a good coinage and, in your first example, not far from the earlier meaning. Your comment reminds me of an old Jewish joke:

"Why is kugel called kugel?"

"Because it looks like kugel."

December 30, 2012  
Blogger R.T. said...

Origin of KUGEL
Yiddish kugl, from Middle High German kugel ball — more at cudgel
First Known Use: 1846

Your throw-away question about kugel reminds me of a question that I frequently ponder: who decided what things might be edible? For example, consider the first person who saw an oyster--what on earth possessed that fellow actually to eat the damn thing! And how many people made mistakes with the wrong kinds of mushrooms before the list of edible mushrooms was refined?

See, you mention kugel, and the mind starts spinning.

Alas, I wish I could have some kugel now. But in my neck of the woods, I am more likely to be served something like road-kill than Jewish food. There is, BTW, a restaurant near me called "The Road Kill Restaurant." But they do not serve kugel!

December 31, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And that reminds me of my old theory that there is only one fruitcake that circulates widely and has been doing so for centuries.

December 31, 2012  
Blogger R.T. said...

That cannot be true. I have actually eaten fruitcake at different times in my life, so that would have broken the "chain letter" theory.

On a related note, which maybe folks outside of the south cannot understand, I wonder why armadillos are so damned suicidal? (The Road Kill discussion prompted that off-the-wall--er, off-the-pavement comment.)

December 31, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Because it was a lot smarter than those idiot armadillos.

December 31, 2012  
Blogger R.T. said...

What a great insight, Peter. Until you have mentioned it, I never gave this much thought: I have never seen a chicken pancaked on the pavement.

Happy New Year. Be safe. Be careful crossing the road later tonight.

December 31, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I guess your momma never told you where Chicken McNuggets ® come from.

Or maybe armadillos, at least in Texas, giving the lie to their atate's reputation for intellectual shallowness are wracked by suicidal indecision, finding long, straight prairie roads disappearing into nowhere too grim a metaphor for life.

December 31, 2012  
Blogger R.T. said...

When I was a child in the care of my momma, Chicken McNuggets did not exist. So, she had very little to say on the subject.

Of course, the chickens I raised in my backyard had a destiny that included batter, frying pans, and knives and forks.

December 31, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Batter, frying pans, and other deadly utensils instilled in chickens an instinct for self-preservation that gets them across the road damn quick.

December 31, 2012  

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