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Monday, February 11, 2008

Comments on the The Tin Roof Blowdown

This is the first James Lee Burke book I have read, so obviously the first in the Dave Robicheaux series. Although starting with the 16th book in the series, instead of the first, is not my favorite way to read a series, I am finding that it is not difficult to fit into the story line. As is typical in a series, the character has progressed and has a history, and the current book makes references to that history, but it does not take away from the new reader's experience.

However, there are references to the origin of Alafair, Robicheaux's daughter that rang a bell in my memory (given my memory, it must have been a Liberty Bell-sized gong). She says- "You see, I am Indian. I was born in a village in El Salvador. A Catholic priest tried to fly my mother and me into the United States, but we crashed off Southwest Pass. My mother drowned in the plane." [p.161] It's not the first time this fact is mentioned in the book, but this time the bell rang loud enough for me to hear it. So I checked. Sure enough, I remember a movie in which something like that happens. Turns out the movie was based on the second book in the Robicheaux series, Heaven's Prisoners. Might want to check it out, but then again, it might ruin the mental picture you have of the hero.

1 comment:

Michael said...

JAMES LEE BURKE
TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN

Hurricane Katrina is a metaphor for the Destructiveness of Evil
And the Novel is Like a Painting of the
Face of Absolute Evil
on this Planet
In our Time
As Iconic as Auschwitz, as the Gulag Archipelelago, in Other Times


MURDER

· Of two young men
· Of the City of New Orleans

On the micro and macro scales evil destroys. It destroys Mrs. Baylor, Ronald Bledsoe on the micro scale, as it will destroy the powerful



AVARICE AND VENALITY:

· In the pursuit of the blood stones
· In the pursuit of raw profit in the re-building of New Orleans

p. 286 “violence and avarice”

p. 148 the new bunch that came in to re-build were beyond anything before experienced in a city experienced with corruption. This group had “global experience in avarice and venality” that made prior Louisiana crooks look like the College of Cardinals. The destruction of N.O. was a “watershed in the history of political cynicism.”

p. 196 “…a level of corporate theft and governmental incompetence and cynicism….” Beyond belief

Was there an escape from “avarice and deceit and people scamming and profiting from the desperation and hardship of their fellow Americans.” P. 310

INDIFFERENCE

The sins of omission above being balanced by the absolute evil of the sin of OMISSION.

Tens of thousands of people, in stifling heat—our fellow citizens—without WATER, because of the utter indifference of the powerful

Suffering inflicted by a destructive event on the scale of Hiroshima, and the most powerful in the land turned their backs and continued on with their vacations while a great American city was destroyed.

And not only people suffered. The people of N.O. became “ sojourners in the Garden of Gethsemene.” P. 3
Contrast this attitude with that of a prior White House, p. 98 LBJ

p. 116 100,000 cattle drowned…and what price did the ecological system of the Gulf pay? The powerful did NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to try to get people to safety, or alleviate suffering. They were ONLY interested in money-making for cronies.

So transformed has this country been in recent years that

p. 198 “This isn’t the United States anymore.”

p. 195 “ecological and structural wreckage…apocalyptical…sense of loss.”

Evil can accomplish this because it has a “façade of normality” p. 352 as normal as the façade of the White House, for example


REDEMPTION

As Mrs. Baylor might testify, we are responsible for our own redemption. WE MAKE THE CHOICE.

Like Alafair who said to Bledsoe as she held the gun on him to “suck on this, you freak.” P.366

But she does NOT kill him, because Molly reminds her

“We never give them power.” P. 367


I was reminded of the following lines …


THE ONSET
BY ROBERT FROST

Always the same, when on a fated night
At last the gathered snow lets down as white
As may be in dark woods, and with a song
It shall not make again all winter long
Of hissing on the yet uncovered ground,
I almost stumble looking up and round,
As one who overtaken by the end
Gives up his errand, and lets death descend
Upon him where he is, with nothing done
To evil, no important triumph won,
More than if life had never been begun.

We can all have an important triumph.

Mike Manchester

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