The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Elmore Leonard’

Animating the Diary, and Other News

December 13, 2013 | by




Happy Birthday, Elmore

October 11, 2013 | by


“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” ―Elmore Leonard



What We’re Loving: Mysteries, Horror, Geography

October 4, 2013 | by


The late Joachim Fest was famous as an historian of the Nazi era. Among other books, he wrote the first German-language biography of Hilter and a biography of Hitler’s architect, Albert Speer. Fest’s own account of the Nazi years, Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood, will be published in English next February by Other Press, and it tells a very different story: that of a strictly conservative, highly cultured family united in their opposition to the Nazi regime, then shattered by the war. The hero of Not I is Fest’s father, an educator who lost his job and brought the family under suspicion when he refused to join the Party, but Fest’s portraits of his brothers, his mother, and his cousins—and of himself as a teenage soldier and POW—are equally vivid and full of pathos. —Lorin Stein

In his Art of Fiction interview, Russell Banks said, “With a novel it’s like entering a huge mansion—it doesn’t matter where you come in, as long as you get in.” I thought a lot about that statement as I read Keith Ridgway’s Hawthorn & Child, a mystery of a book presented as a novel, but one you could just as easily call a story collection. What begins as a standard detective novel—a man is shot from a vintage car—soon transforms into a puzzle of fractured characters and narrative: a couple not good with words writes intimately to each other in a notebook, a man disappears for a month only to reappear with a manuscript on wolves. How should a novel function as a form? How much work should be expected of the reader to put all the pieces together? (I suggest multiple readings.) In the story “Rothko Eggs,” a young woman describes Jackson Pollock’s paintings as “like the idea of having an idea, instead of having an idea.” She could just as easily be describing this book. —Justin Alvarez Read More »



September 26, 2013 | by


Those with an appetite for funeral baked meats and a few mil burning the proverbial hole, NB: Elmore Leonard’s Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, estate can be yours. “His jeans are all lined up, his shoes are all perfect … I’ve never seen a closet so organized,” says the real estate agent, oddly. If this is not temptation enough, consider this description: “The home is a French Regency stunner with five bedrooms, four full baths, and three half baths. Set on over an acre, the graceful 4,733 square foot mansion is part of a secluded little suburban escape with its own private pool and tennis court.” All the mod cons (one presumes) and within easy distance of Detroit hot spots.



New Salinger, and Other News

August 26, 2013 | by


  • We like this slideshow of images from the Hargeisa International Book Fair, but are somewhat confused by the headline “Somaliland goes crazy for books.”
  • According to the upcoming Salinger documentary, the famous recluse instructed his estate to publish at least five posthumous books, starting in 2015.
  • When he was a carpenter, Harrison Ford worked on Joan Didion’s beach house. Says she, “I was happy with his work—and even happier with his presence in the house because he was a great moral force.” He’ll present her with a lifetime achievement award at the PEN Center USA dinner in October.
  • Here are all of Elmore Leonard’s opening lines.


    Mr. Paradise

    August 22, 2013 | by


    Leonard in his home office.

    Elmore Leonard died this week. This is terribly sad news. It’s terribly sad when the world loses someone fantastically gifted who also, through some cosmic fluke, is not a dick. Elmore Leonard was not a dick. He was nice. He wrote something like a book a year, and even the crap ones were better than most of what passes for decent fiction these days. And he was one cool motherfucker.

    We hung out one afternoon in October 2010 at his house in the suburbs north of Detroit. I was interviewing him for a story just before his ninety-millionth novel, Djibouti, was about to hit. He wore this black sweater with a scraggly beard and smoked cigarette after cigarette in his office, just talking. His daughter was in the other room futzing with this chair that was in the process of getting reupholstered. Gregg Sutter, Elmore’s longtime research man, floated in and out of the room a couple times, and Elmore sat there at his desk doing his third or fourth interview of the day—late in the day now—an eighty-five-year-old guy talking about how he’s got the best job in the world and why would he ever want to stop doing that? Apparently he didn’t. Sutter said recently that Elmore was banging away at his next book up until he had a stroke a couple weeks ago.

    Back then, we talked about a bunch of stuff. The usual chaff about his writing process (longhand, then typewriter), his aversion to all that social media junk, what he was writing now. (Stacked uneasily on a chair nearby was a stack of material about mountaintop removal that Gregg had dug up; it would become fodder for his last novel, Raylan.) He’d just unboxed his first cell phone. He smoked and talked dismissively about his atrial fibrillation and how “you can get a stroke easily with it” and so he took a couple pills for it every day and had bloodwork done every week or so. This was a serene, cool man much more like the smiley bemused grandpa pictured in his current official author photo. Previous versions featured a scowly guy rocking lavender-shaded sunglasses and a the-fuck-you-looking-at puss. I can’t imagine meeting that guy, after having met this guy. Read More »

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