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Dress Her In Indigo by John D MacDonald

Knight errant or
misogynist pig?
Or both - who says
you have to choose?
One phrase struck me during the reading of this book, another in the 20-odd series featuring everybody's favourite sexual healer Travis McGee, that reminded me of the fantastic lashing John D MacD got at the hands of another reviewer, and if which I made copious use in a previous review. Another of Trav's mysteriously well-connected contacts puts him on to one Enelio Fuentes, whose comportment around women is degraded at best, and whose own sensibilities lead him to pimp out two typists to Trav and hirsute pal Meyer during their stay in Oaxaca, something to which neither of them object. 

Still there?

He repeatedly describes women as either crumpets or chicklets, and Meyer later relates that when he presses Fuentes for the distinction, it's beguilingly vague and horribly sexist at the same time - I'll leave that for you to find and enjoy.

So why do I persist in reading what some might describe as novels that demean the reader as well as the women (and men) portrayed therein? In short, because they're great fun. Even as MacDonald bucks the trend of the casual stereotyping of Mexicans as slovenly and untrustworthy with upwardly mobile and successful characters like the lovely chicklets / crumpets Elena, Lita and Margarita (one of whom Fuentes takes for himself) and Fuentes himself, a VW agency owner and member of an elite social club on the roof of some ghastly modern structure, he also appears to have a pretty tight grip on the reality of a particular time and place, of some pretty real human emotions, and an understanding of the fluidity of situations and encounters that never once leave you suspicious or mistrustful of what comes next. I often will myself to dislike his prose and to flare up the old snorts of derision at some trite or hackneyed narrative trope but find myself equally often unable so to do. MacDonald is a pretty damned good writer, even if he leaves a fur of bitter distaste on the tongues of many. And in ...Indigo MacDonald has a cracking story, about the disintegration of middle American ideals and the seeking of meaning in a Mexican pipe dream, as well as a tale of deceit and death that really does pull you in and sock you in the jaw. And the lovely Lady Rebecca? Just wow. That's all.

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How's about that then?

Free Fall In Crimson by John D. MacDonald

Trav is back, still grieving the loss of some chickadee or other whose death almost knocked him off his game, but not too shook up to set himself up with a few more lucky lovelies whilst tripping his way through another overly complicated and rather sordidly underwhelming plot. This time, some bikers are making dirty movies with minors on the set of a future classic hot-air-balloon movie. Travis falls into the action because a rich old geyser carks it in unusual circumstances and it affects the trust fund of a former marina-mate. And hirsute intellectual Meyer wets his pants towards the end. 

You may sense a fatigued, sardonic note in my precis. It's not that I don't still love John D., it's just that after embarking on the long game that is reading the entire Travis McGee oeuvre, I'm approaching the end and it feels long overdue. It's been fun, it's been enlightening, but it's also been a schlep. With the realisation I might now have fewer years left to me …

The Lost Time Accidents by John Wray

Fup by Jim Dodge

If there was a comfort-food version of a book for me, then this would be it. It's funny, touching, humanistic, and features so many quotable quotes that its trim 120 pages could be represented in its entirety on some such authors' quotations page.

We're introduced to Tiny on the occasion of his mother's death, lured into a treacherously fatal situation by, of all things, a duck, while her 4-year-old son sleeps in the car where he wakes to a terrifying solitude. Meanwhile, we're treated to a potted but entertaining history of Granddaddy Jake, Tiny's grandfather, into whose care by fair means or foul (no pun intended) he is finally placed. But the titular Fup duck comes along only once Tiny is fully grown (and how!). A lost and lonely duckling, much like Tiny, she's discovered shivering in a freshly dug post hole, which betrays the attention paid to it by Tiny's nemesis, a wild hog called Lockjaw, who enjoys tearing up Tiny's fences just as much as he …

Metaliterature - what meaning to have is this for meaning?

Not a review this time, more of a curiosity. It seems I'm receiving lots of hits from Russia (Здравствуйте России!) from people searching for the definition of "metaliterature". As such, it is something of a bespoke word, created to fit a need and probably not yet recognized outside literary theory / criticism circles (Merriam-Webster Online certainly don't like it). I was wondering what they typed in to end up here, so, for fun (it's not fun, sorry) I thought I'd bung it in Google Translate and see what came out. As it turns out, one needs a little hyphen for the rather ponderous machine to understand it, and even then only does half the job (meta seems to be meta in any language). 
Incidentally, below is, ironically, a Google Chrome Thesaurus definition* of "meta":

met·a Adjective/ˈmetə/
(of a creative work) Referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referentialInterestingly (not interesting, sorry) it says this for the full term, t…