Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Well, shit

We lost Spenser. And Kate.

I had my beefs with Parker: he was particularly prone to the fiction author's tendency to mythologize him- (usually "him") or herself in his prose--Spenser the detective is a kind of mid-life-crisis fantasy of machismo--and his particular neuroses and prejudices come off both the prose, and his personality, in waves. He had a childish resentment toward college professors and feminists and he thought that anybody who even spoke to his wife (the archetype of the equally mythologized Spenser love interest Susan Silverman) was hitting on her.

But I'll give the man two things: he had an absolutely hellacious work ethic--seventy books?!?--and he was capable of learning things: when his sons were hitting adolescence, he wrote-into the saga an adolescent orphan who Spenser could begin to deal with in a paternal way, and then when they both came out as gay, he wrote-into the saga a weight-lifting ex-cop, "queer as a three-dollar bill," who becomes another loyal Spenser sidekick.

In fact, that's kind of what Parker did: he worked-out/wrote-out all the ways he wanted his life to go. It's probably not too much of a reach to say that he wrote his way into the life he sought. He didn't really suffer very much in his life, and there's no doubt that Spenser was Parker's own wish-fulfillment, and he sure wrote a lot of books, later on, that were transparently screenplays which he dashed-off in order to generate the bucks from Hollywood advances. But by god he worked.

I'm sorry he's gone.

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