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« Magazine Culture | Main | Not a Critic »

October 03, 2002

Free Reads -- P.D. James

Friedrich --

Have you read the British mystery-and-detective novelist P.D. James? She has tons of fans. I've read a few of her books, and was very impressed. She does a more convincing version of the well-upholstered, realistic novel of social observation than any contemporary literary writer I know of. In other words, if you want a traditional, 19th-century-style novel-reading experience, salted with serious moral questions and concerns, but you want it set in the modern world, I don't know how you can do better than P.D. James. If I'm not really a fan, it's only because I don't really have a taste for that kind of fiction, alas. But she's as smart and talented as can be.

The Smithsonian Associates offers a wonderful, free audio talk by James here.

Robert McCrum of the Observer talks to James about murder, God, the artificiality of fiction and much else, here.

Sample passage:

Murder is the unique crime; it's the only one for which we can never make reparation to the victim. We feel that the murderer steps over an invisible line which divides him or her forever from the rest of us. It is an astonishing act and we regard it with horrified fascination.



posted by Michael at October 3, 2002


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