Conan, James - City of Dark Hearts

James Conan is het pseudoniem van William Horwood & Helen Rappaport


Hij kan het nog! William Horwood met zijn nieuwste schrijfega Helen Rappaport. Dit boek staat weer bol van echt Horwoodiaanse kracht van uitdrukking en emotie. Alleen hij kan dat op deze manier!


In een kritiek las ik de frase 'this book ofcourse is no literature'. Wat maakt het nu toch uit in welke hokje we een boek stoppen? City of Dark Hearts is niets minder dan een juweel van meesterschap. Het brood dat oude meneer Zemeckis aan Emily geeft als teken van zijn dank, is zo'n voorbeeld van Horwoodiaans meesterschap. Schijnbaar simpel, maar met zo'n rijke achtergrond dat heel veel verklaart van het leven, de betekenis daarvan, of juist het ontbreken van betekenis. 


Het lezen van dit boek noopte mij tot het schrijven van een brief aan deze oude meester: 


Dear Mr. Horwood,

In the past we have had a brief correspondence. In 1985 I was prompted to write to you about the deep impression your novel The Stonor Eagles had made on me. You kindly replied with a warm and very kind letter. When your ficionalised memoirs The boy with no shoes was published, I was very happy to welcome your revival as a published writer. I now much better understand the origin of the storyline of Skallagrigg, of people, relatives, lost through time, finding one another again. I wanted to write you about my deepened admiration for your writership, but somehow the letter never got finished. The publication of Dark hearts of Chicago now proves once more that blood is thicker than water.


After reading the shortened version, City of Dark Hearts, I have to let you know again how much I still admire and appreciate you as a writer. In one of the criticisms I read about this novel, the critic rather blatantly states that this book ‘ofcourse’ is no literature. To be very honest, I couldn’t care less in what category this book is filed, to me it is a jewel of high craftmanship. 


The loaf of bread the old mr Zemeckis offers Emily as a token of his thanks, for instance, is one of those elements that are typical of your writing in my point of view. Seemingly simple but with such a rich background that explains so much about life, the meaning of it (or lack of meaning).


It are these elements that are very dear to me. 

It is obvious that I cannot see what sentences are yours and which are from Ms Rappaport. The same goes for her role in your re-emergence as a novelist, which ofcourse is none of my business. But for whatever part she has played in this I want to say thank you to her. That unique Horwoodian touch to a story is back, and I can even look forward to more. A second Emily Strauss story and even a new series of fantasy.


So, once more, 23 years(!) after my first ‘fanmail’, I wish to say thank you. 


Gelezen: september 2008