Can't You Hear Me Knocking

My name is David Thayer and Kevin has been kind enough to bring me on as
the thriller-noir reviewer for CM.

With all the talk about the NEA report and the decline of reading, you get the idea that book publishing is an anxiety fueled business. Anxiety is color coded for your convenience; we’re currently and collectively at orange or yellow, I forget which. I’ve also forgotten whether orange is worse than yellow or vice-versa thus fueling additional anxiety. Not reassured by Ridge or Ashcroft we are left to our own devices and my favorite one is books.

In philosophy, perspective is the antidote to anxiety. Reading fiction is more rewarding than non-fiction because it provides a unique perspective. Non-fiction tends to reinforce, or even drive the collective angst, that’s why it’s topicality leaves me cold. When Robert McNamara confesses the Vietnam war wasn’t such a hot idea, the reflex is to say we knew that Bob.

One of the best thrillers I’ve ever read was The War With Hannibal by Livy. As a historian, Livy takes his Lumps for making things up and inserting off the cuff political comments; yeah, he wrote a novel and called it a history because he lived in an era where non-fiction reigned supreme.

Two thousand years later the NYT says non-fiction is all that matters. We’ll see about that. Another section of the NEA thing alluded to eleven million people engaged in creative writing; perhaps the audience has grown restless, stormed the stage at Carnegie Hall and grabbed a violin. It’s a big sound, but is it music?