oss Macdonald got so excited one day in 1952 that he dropped his commas. A year later, another writer had a character express his opinion of that sort of thing. Please welcome Macdonald's "The Imaginary Blonde" and Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me
"The blankness coagulated into colored shapes. The shapes were half human and half beast and they dissolved and re-formed, dancing through the eaves of my mind to dream a mixture of both jive and nightmare music. A dead man with a furred breast jumped out of a hole and doubled and quadrupled. I ran away from them through a twisting tunnel which led to an echo chamber. Under the roaring surge of the nightmare music, a rasping tenor was saying ..."
And here's Thompson's Lou Ford:
"In lots of books I read, the writer seems to go haywire every time he reaches a high point. He'll start leaving out punctuation and running his words together and babble about stars flashing and sinking into a deep dreamless sea. And you can't figure out whether the hero's laying his girl or a cornerstone. I guess that kind of crap is supposed to be pretty deep stuff—a lot of the book reviewers eat it up, I notice. But the way I see it is, the writer is just too goddam lazy to to his job."
Who's right, the psychologist or the psychopath? How has description of lowered or heightened states of consiousness changed in crime ficiton since the 1950s?
© Peter Rozovsky 2013
Labels: Jim Thompson, miscellaneous, Ross Macdonald, things that drive me nuts