Sunday, July 30, 2006

George Pelecanos recommends a few books

I've read every George Pelecanos novel and eagerly await The Night Gardener, which will be released in August.

Pelecanos shared a list of interesting books with The Week magazine; it includes The Great Louisiana Novel and a western by one of America's great comic novelists:

True Grit by Charles Portis

The journey of Mattie Ross, a self-assured 14-year-old girl who seeks her father’s killer with the help of a “one-eyed fat man” in post–Civil War Nebraska. A rousing adventure story, an accurate-to-the-language historical novel, and a blazing good Western in the bargain. The voice of Mattie Ross is a spectacular achievement, as memorable and true as Huck Finn’s.

Click here to read about Pelecanos' other choices.

Pelacanos's turf is Washington, D.C.--and I don't mean the salons of Georgetown--so where better to get the skinny on him than from Stephen Amidon writing in the Washington Post?
Although The Night Gardener has its share of page-turning virtues, Pelecanos once again shows himself to have ambitions far beyond simply creating a first-rate thriller. Like Dennis Lehane at his best, Pelecanos is able to obscure the line between genre writing and "serious" fiction. His evocations of the "other" Washington--geographically proximate but also a world away from K Street, Georgetown and Capitol Hill--are superb. His capital city is a place of illegal dog fights, garbage-strewn lots and crack houses, a place where citizens wear "Stop Snitchin" t-shirts and the cops refer to the murder of a drug dealer as a "society cleanse." But it is also a place where boys dream of being sports heroes, parents correct their children's grammar, and friends gather on porches for a twilight cocktail. Few other writers working today are able to depict both the lurid realm of street crime and the quiet aspirations of domestic life with such a deft touch.
Click here to learn more about Pelecanos and here to read an excerpt from The Night Gardener.

--Marshal Zeringue