Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Finished: Block's 'The Autobiography of Matthew Keller'

 I'm sure it's happened but I'm not aware of an author writing a series and then capping that series with an autobiography of the the principal character. But Lawrence Block did just that with his Matthew Scudder series. It's a unique concept that could've fallen flat but did not because, well, it's Lawrence Block.

He wrote 17 novels featuring Scudder and closed it out with Scudder "writing" his autobiography. Block made it look like Scudder was writing it in a train-of-thought manner and pulled it off. I loved it. You have to read many Scudder novels for it to hit home and I have.

Running concurrently with it, you get the feeling that much of it is the 85-year-old Block's autobiography as well. It was cool.

I marked it up pretty good with quotes like: "Life, even as it lengthens, becomes increasingly about death."

And, a phrase common at AA meetings: "Feelings aren't facts." A lot of people, not just alcoholics, but also FOX News and CNN die-hards, might do well to heed.

One thing I learned, which I took as true, as Keller wrote about his time with the NYPD probably in the 1960s, was in regard to the "N" word. Even then, NYPD officers were advised not to use it. So, they found a way around it. They instead used another "N" word instead and referred to Blacks as "Norwegians."

So if a guy was recalling a liquor store robbery that involved two Black suspects, he'd tongue-in-check say: "It was, of course, two Norwegians." Didn't mean the cops weren't racist, but simply used semantics to get around using the word they were thinking.

As a full-blood Norwegian, that caught my attention. I'm surprised I haven't heard that reference before, given all the crime noir I've read from that era.

As for the book, I gave it a 7 and hope LB has several more novels left in him, though it appears Keller's career has come to an end. 

Oh, and my copy was signed by the Grand Master himself!

No comments:

Post a Comment