|About the Book|
in his novels, thompson comes off as a guy who understands the ins and outs of everything-- every person, every business, every relationship, every idea... and in this autobiographical work, it is the same way. he takes you on a really fascinating journey through the places and people and events of his youth, many of which formed the basis for his later novels (especially A Swell-Looking Babe and South of Heaven). the difference between his novels and this book, though, is that, in this, thompson also understands himself perfectly well. i read thompson to experience the terror and tension of living inside, essentially, a psychopath-- someone who is hiding even from himself, someone who doesnt know what hes capable of, what hes about to do, or even, sometimes, what he has done. his novels swirl around this negative center which keeps moving without ever knowing how or why or in what direction. all that is gone here, in favor of reflection and understanding, and as a result there is no tension. we get a colorful series of incidents and episodes, and are introduced to a wide variety of interesting characters, but it never really comes together into anything more. and its not scary- just funny. humorous. genial.its just not a jim thompson novel, is all. take it for what it is: insight into the man.