Sunday, January 02, 2011

Crime fiction that sticks up for the little guy

This bit from Lord Jim:

"I pointed out to him that the skipper of the Patna was known to have feathered his nest pretty well, and could procure almost anywhere the means of getting away. With Jim it was otherwise: the Government was keeping him in the Sailors' Home for the time being, and probably he hadn't a penny in his pocket to bless himself with. It costs some money to run away."
reminded me of this from The Big Sleep:

"Carol Lundgren, the boy killer with the limited vocabulary, was out of circulation for a long, long time, even if they didn't strap him in a chair over a bucket of acid. They wouldn't, because he would take a plea and save the county money. They all do when they don't have the price of a big lawyer."
Both are matter-of-fact recognitions of money's power to buy or evade justice. What's your favorite example of crime writing that sticks up for the little guy or at least recognizes his plight?

A search preparatory to this post turned up this oddity: a bilingual edition of The Big Sleep with facing text in English and Russian. Here's
how to say

"`What’s your name?'

"`Reilly,' I said. `Doghouse Reilly.'"

in Russian:

- Как вас зовут?

- Рейли, - ответил я. - Догхауз Рейли.

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

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Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

This is so interesting I have started a post on the subject of Conrad's view of the team and the constant reminder that Lord Jim was "one of us". I'll post it in a week or two, as holidays are sacrosanct in Dublin.

Here's to more incisive debate in 2011.

January 07, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yes, that "one of us" remark is fraught with interest, and I'll look forward to more debate and discussion after the holidays.

January 07, 2011  
Blogger Photographe à Dublin said...

This it taking longer than anticipated.

The fist tentative post is now up.

So much to think about...

January 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I have since come across the argument that Conrad was racist, at least in The Nigger of the Narcissus. This could inform any of my future Conrad reading.

January 20, 2011  
Blogger Photographe à Dublin said...

Gradually sifting though ideas on Widgetinghour.

The remarkable thing about Jim is that so many people within the ex-pat community wanted to help him, but he kept moving on.

Truly a romantic figure, as Stein (the butterfly collector) says.

January 23, 2011  

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