Friday, July 10, 2009

John D. MacDonald Vs. Hollywood

I CAME a bit late to the work of john d. macdonald, the floridian whose most famous character, self-proclaimed "boat bum" travis mcgee, has sold more than 40 million books worldwide. but these books, while light on the surface, are not only fun reads -- in some ways resembling detective novels -- they lay out an appealing and persuasive worldview that resonates in our uncertain times.

for decades people have been wondering why the 21 mcgee novels, which appeared mostly in the '60s and '70s, have never been successfully translated to the big screen. (especially baffling given how good both "cape fear" movies -- both based on jdm's "the executioners" -- are.) HERE is my sunday LATimes piece on what appears to be good news.

i'm still more a ross macdonald man (i like the psychological depth, chiseled writing and unobtrusive use of symbol in the lew archer novels), but john d. is far more than the literary jimmy buffett i'd sort of expected.

here's the way jonathan yardley put it in this very fine washpost assessment:

"This man whom I'd snobbishly dismissed as a paperback writer turned out to be a novelist of the highest professionalism and a social critic armed with vigorous opinions stingingly expressed. His prose had energy, wit and bite, his plots were humdingers, his characters talked like real people, and his knowledge of the contemporary world was -- no other word will do -- breathtaking."

this blog welcomes comments from those who know the mcgee -- and many other -- novels of this writer whose work has fallen into neglect of late.

1 comment:

linda said...

liked your article in the times today...linda collier