A tourist in a strange land

“Literary authors sometimes like to take holidays in the shabby Third World genres like romance, thrillers and fantasy.”

So begins Crawford Kilian’s audacious review of Cormac McCarthy’s new book, The Road, in which the acclaimed author takes a junket in to the realm of science fiction. McCarthy turns out to be “a tourist” who “can’t hold his mescal,” according to Kilian, but the book’s more serious problem would seem to transcend genres:

“McCarthy’s fatal flaw is that he can’t go for two paragraphs without reminding us that he’s a hell of a good writer, and that makes him a terrible writer.”

Every sentence of Kilian’s review in the Tyee is a gem. I don’t think I’ve read such a fine review since the era of Peter Prescott at Newsweek.

Hot off the press: Vanishing Seattle

The Blogger site has been a bit recalcitrant today, but I’ve believe it’s going to let me make this important announcement:

Clark Humphrey‘s new non-fiction book Vanishing Seattle (Arcadia Publishing) will be released Monday. The official release party is at Epilogue Books Tuesday, Dec. 19, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

I saw a proof of the book this fall, and it’s a great combo of rare photos and Clark’s wry and incisive commentary. I’ve only lived in Seattle for 22 years, but it is shocking to realize how many of the charming places that played a key roles in the city in the 70s, 80s, and 90s are gone forever (most of them replaced by Euro-style condos with 500-square-foot studio units selling for $500,000). Clark, editor of the Belltown Messenger and former staff writer for The Stranger, is a leading authority on popular culture of the Pacific Northwest.

Vanishing Seattle should be available at all the major Seattle bookshops next week; you can also order it on Amazon.

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