Saturday, July 27, 2013

Jim "1280" Thompson

I needed some leisure reading to match the mood into which I'd been plunged by one of the stories I had to read for my job, so I turned to Jim Thompson, The Kill-Off. Here's part of its first chapter, boldface mine:
"Manduwoc is a seacoast town, a few hours train-ride from New York City. It is too far from the city for commuting; there are no local industries. According to the last census, the population was 1,280 and I doubt that it has increased since then."
What was with Thompson and the number 1,280

© Peter Rozovsky 2013

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4 Comments:

Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

I have been pretty scared to read most of his work.

July 27, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The first Thompson I read was Savage Night, probably his scariest. I read it late at night, in bed, and I emerged scarred but the psychologically well adjusted creature I remain today.

July 27, 2013  
Blogger Howard Sherman said...

A lot of authors have their schtick or their signature and 1280 seems to be Thompson's. All in good fun, I think.

I love the opener and wonder how much excitement can be summoned in a work of fiction set in a town with just 1280 people. I can't wait to find out.

July 28, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I figured as much. I didn't think 1,280 held some deep psychological meaning. It's a good number for a tiny town, though. A three-figure population might have seemed a joke. 1,280 is large enough a population to be plausible, small enough to be claustrophobic.

July 28, 2013  

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