My first David Gordon.
This one slipped through the cracks when it came out.
Making evaluations on just one book it's always risky, but I'd say David Gordon's got the touch.
"The Serialist" is not completely successful. Some flaws abound, namely not making the story internally consistent, ie, the game David Gordon sells is crooked in terms of giving me (in)sufficient clues in the story itself to lead me to the answers. David Gordon was also able to go beyond the Crime Fiction genre by using a very distinct and original voice through which he tells the story.
What drew me into the story were the sidelines, especially the literary comments on the nature of reading and writing:
“Why do we read? In the beginning, as children, why do we love the books we love? For most, I think, it’s travel, a flight into adventure, into a dream that feels like our own. But for a few it is also escape, flight from boredom, unhappiness, loneliness, from where or who we can no longer bear to be. When I read, the words on the page replace the voice in my head and I cease, for a little while, to be me, or at least to be so painfully aware of being me. These are the real readers, the maniacs, the ones who dose themselves with fiction the way junkies get high, the way lovers adore the beloved: beyond reason.”
Sometimes, the porn elements became in themselves the driver of the novel. Some of them I didn't see them...(cough, cough)...coming...
David Gordon was able to put beautifully into words what I feel about Genre Fiction in general:
"In its tropes and types, genre fiction is close to myth, or to what the myths and classics once were. Just as a century or two ago, one could refer to Ulysses or Jason and hid a deep vein of common understanding in your reader, now we touch that place when we think of a lone figure riding in the desert, or a stranger in a long coat and hat coming down a corridor with a gun, or a bat wheeling above the city at night. Reduced to their essence, boiled down, the turns and returns of genre unfold like dreams, like the dreams that we all share and trade with one another and that, clumsy and unrealistic as they are, point us toward the truth."
What's the hallmark of the great writers? For me it's their uncanny ability to toy with my emotions.
Within the span of a few sentences, you can go from shaking with elation to bellowing your eyes out to becoming suddenly enraged and hurling the book against the wall. Those are the things that I use as the hallmarks of great writing, and proof of mastership of the craft. And it goes beyond mere storytelling. It's that undefinable and elusive quality, that some writers have and some others don't.
David Gordon has got all of those qualities aplenty.