The Aardvark Blog
The pleasures of Spenser
The pleasures of Spenser
It is years since I last read Robert Parker, but when an old Parker - the Godwulf Manuscript - arrived in with the big collection of detective stories I mentioned in the last blog, I couldn't resist reading him again. Although Godwulf is Parker's first novel in the series, it is as if Spenser arrived fully formed. Parker's prose is never showy, notwithstanding his protagonist's literary predilictions.
Still, great writer that Parker is, it was still a mistake to let him loose on finishing 'Poodle Springs' by Raymond Chandler. Chandler's prose is less certain than Parker's. Sentences start off and find their purpose in the telling. Also Spenser and Marlowe although superficially similar, are very different characters. I find it impossible to think of Spenser without also thinking about Hawk - Parker's other great invention - who provides the Id to Spenser's Superego. Marlowe would never have worked with a partner, especially one as morally dubious as Hawk. Ultimately there is an incompatability. Parker accepts the world as it is, and Chandler does not (albeit he recognises the impossibility of change). Finishing off the unfinished is a strange literary task, and one which sometimes works surprisingly well. Jill Paton Walsh produces Dorothy L Sayers books which are as good as most of those written by the great lady herself (the Nine Tailors is I am afraid an untouchable masterpiece ) , and I recently read a very plausible new non-Christie Poirot story.
On other cultural topics I have been driving round listening to CPE Bach Harpsichord music, and the experience has been totally thrilling, and a long needed change to the usual pop/jazz/rock mixture that blasts out of the car stereo. This weekend is the Presteigne music festival, and then coming up in October Tom Bowes and Eleanor Alberga his wife will once again be running their boutique music festival Arcadia from churches in this area. Aardvark has one of the events this year - a poetry reading by Pele Cox on the afternoon of the 3rd of October. Check the website for more details. Talking of Eleanor, her latest work will be starting the Last Night of the Proms on the 12th of September.
Finally don't forget - and how could you - that the Aardvark Books Vide Grenier is this Monday from 9am-3pm, with the fantastic Poobahs providing the live music!
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