Friday, January 2, 2009

Andrew Vachss

From: Lou Bank (

Hi, Nicola! I saw that in your description of Stay, you referred to the "hard-boiled moral conviction worthy of Andrew Vachss." So I thought maybe you enjoyed his writing. If that's the case, you might want to know that his 18th and *final* Burke novel, ANOTHER LIFE, will be released December 30. More information at Thanks!

I didn't say that, my publisher, Nan A. Talese, did in the flap copy of the original hardcover edition. I don't generally compare my work to anyone else's. Writers need egos the size of the planet; I'm no exception. I think Aud is sui generis.

I enjoyed the first two Burke novels I read but felt reluctant to continue. This is no reflection on Mr. Vachss' skill--he's very good indeed at what he does--but an indicator of my taste. I find it difficult to read book after book about the violence done to children. Burke's world and worldview are rather grim and the tone monochromatic, full of that city chiaroscuro beloved of noir film and fiction.

This is one of the areas where I've disagreed with Aud's various publishers and editors. They call The Blue Place, Stay, and Always noir. (For a lengthy rant on the subject read this blog post, which begins: Being mis/labelled is an occupational hazard for a novelist. I shrug, think, Well, that's marketing for ya, and move on. But for some reason I seem to get bent out of shape when people describe the Aud books as noir. I've been trying to figure out why. I think it has something to do with love...) I see the Aud books as lush, textured, colourful novels about life. Yes, they're also crime fiction, yes, the language is spare--but the world (Aud's interior landscape and the physical milieu through which she moves) isn't.

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