maandag 10 september 2012

On behalf of Banville, Atkins and Marlowe

There's a lively debate going on about John Banville's contract to write a new Philip Marlowe novel. It follows the debate about Ace Atkins continuing Robert B. Parker's Spenser series.
Ace has recently been sticking up for John about it. Personally I've given it a lot of thought.
At first, I wasn't against it really, but didn't see why it should be written. I could see why Spenser should continue, after all Spenser had characters like Hawk, Belson, Susan, Vinnie, Chollo, etc. Marlowe was just Marlowe, not an entire world of recurring characters. There have been so many PI's inspired by Marlowe a new Marlowe would probably seem like an unoriginal, pastiche-like character to new readers. I figured Holmes and Bond were original enough to warrant new books by other writers than Fleming. I wasn't sure about Marlowe. Wasn't Chandler's voice what made him unique, not the character?
Then I read Ace's article and I kind of changed my mind...
I started to think about Superman. He was the first superhero. A lot of imitations followed. Still, he kept returning, having become the property of the people as much as the writer who created him. Isn't that the case with Marlowe as well? Isn't he so legendary, so important a character in the world of fiction he SHOULD be alive for decades to come. Without him there would be no Noah Milano, because there wouldn't be a Spenser, or an Elvis Cole.
Philip Marlowe deserves to live on. I wish John the best of luck.
What do all of you think?

3 opmerkingen:

  1. At first I hated the idea of someone writing for Robert B. Parker. I've been reading his Spenser books since I was 18 years old. My characters are patterned after his writing style. I SWORE I would never read Ace Atkins' counterfeit Spenser....and yet, while at the library yesterday I found myself drifting toward his books. There weren't any available on the shelf, so I was saved from making the ultimate betrayal...but next time I just might look again....

  2. Against it. Chandler not only had a gift of language that cannot be duplicated, tho often imitated. i know I do it myself. But his sphere of influence is too great. He defined the PI for all times. Even a hack like Julie Smith acknowledges we all pay homage each time we write. A new Marlowe would be a pastiche as you say earlier and the late 80's short collection by other writers proved.

    The post Fleming Bond novels are disposable. Besides Fleming was not Chandler. He had no gift of language. To be honest his novels tho very good are remembered because of the films.

    Hey, if Robert B. Parker couldn't pull it off who could?

  3. Marlowe would live on without Banville or any other imitator. (Robert B. Parker's attempts were godawful.) Chandler's work has long been acknowledged as classic, and people keep on reading and rereading it. We really don't need imitations.

    That said, the finest Chandler pastiche I've ever read is DEADFALL by Keith Laumer.