Friday, July 25, 2014

Moth (James Sallis, 1993)

I'm not sure why, but I expected the second Lew Griffin book to be more classically structured than the first one. Don't get me wrong: I loved The Long-Legged Fly, and all I'm saying is that strictly speaking, it isn't exactly a crime/mystery novel; it's more about putting Lew Griffin and his ugly yet poetic New Orleans on the map of crime novels. I was also hoping that LaVerne would be somehow involved in the next one. I usually don't fall for the "hooker with a heart of gold" cliche, but she was such a great character.

Nope. Moth simply continues where Fly had ended. Chronologically as well as stylishly. A pretty fragmented and wild storyline that frequently (especially at the beginning) jumps back and forth in time and digresses from the main plot to Griffin's private life. And since the main plot (can we even call it a "case"?) involves a personal matter of finding LaVern's junkie daughter, these flashbacks and episodes aren't distracting and complement the main story nicely. And btw - my heroine died sometime between Fly and Moth. Damn, I raise this pint of Guinness to her memory.

Great and interesting read, masterfully written. Maybe a bit repetitive at times (I could do without a few book references for sure) and definitely too fucking depressing. I have nothing whatsoever against the realism (everyone should read Pedro Juan GutiƩrrez btw!) but stuff like a guy fucking his one-year-old daughter and afterwards slamming her head against the wall "so she wouldn't tell"... is a bit too much. Even for me.

So I need some time for this one to sink in, and then I'm definitely resuming with following Lew Griffin's fascinating life story.



Lew Griffin, (ex? part-time?) detective, writer and college professor these days

"He told me if he sent you out to the corner for a paper, chances would be about fifty-fifty of his actually getting one, but that he'd trust you with his life. One of your stranger character references."

New Orleans, Clarksville, Memphis

Body count
Hard to measure it this time. There were quite a few dead people, from crack baby to some anonymous girl gang-raped and left dead in a dark alley. But none of them is really connected to the case. Because there really is no case...

Alouette, LaVerne's daughter.

He's shot in the arm and passes out.

Another poetic one, this time from the verses of  James Wright:
Further, the dark moths
Crouch at the sills of the earth, waiting.

Not sure how to decipher it.  A simple explanation would be that moth symbolises a lost person (Lew or Alouette) that is irresistibly drawn to something they cannot escape and which will eventually burn them to death. 

Why do women look so incredibly cool when smoking in b&w photos? This one reminds me a lot of Anna Karina from Vivre Sa Vie.

Cool lines:  
"Ain't here," he said after a moment.
"Thank you. But allow me to make an assumption; possibly unwarranted, from that. To wit: that she was, at some unspecified point in the past, been here, though she is not presently."
"Say what?"

I stepped back into the living room and discovered that the .38 was no longer under the cushion. It was now in someone's hand, and pointed at me.

1 comment:

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