Sunday, February 16, 2020

Dark Passage by David Goodis

Here Sarah Chang plays Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor

Josh and I attended friends of ours' 30th wedding anniversary at a rather swank restaurant Friday.  This fellow presided over the festivities.

Call me weird, but I love cows.  I think they're beautiful and I have my eye on a book that I will be buying and reviewing before the year is out.

Well, I hope he led a good life before he met his maker.

Dark PassageDark Passage by David Goodis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
David Goodis is a recent discovery and a happy one at that. I had read Shoot the Piano Player in an anthology so I was encouraged to give more of his stories a try. This one, in my opinion, surpasses Shoot the Piano Player in story and character development, suspense, and looking into the dark corners of the human soul.

Vincent Parry is condemned to life in San Quentin for killing his wife. He claims he is innocent, but his wife's dying words were that he did it. The prosecuting lawyer persuades the jury more by slaughtering the man's character than providing concrete proof.

Through a series of fortunate events, Parry manages to escape from prison and, after several close calls goes into hiding. But if he didn't kill his wife, who did?

There are many characters in this book, many suspects, and every chapter ends with a close call, leading the reader to believe it's all over for Parry.

The characters are very interesting, each of them believable, but also representing a type of person:

The woman who believes in him and wants to help him.

The woman who is psychotically obsessed with him and wants to destroy everyone and everything she can't have.

The woman who held him in contempt, even up to her dying breath, accusing him of her murder.

The man who seems to want to help him, but actually has ulterior motives.

The men who are in power to turn him in, but show a compassionate side and a surprising amount of insight and accurate measuring up of a man's real character.

Then those that are caught in the cross fire of Parry's drama and end up dead or desperate.

Goodis, himself was a desperate man. His characters are outcasts, innocent people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Loners who must escape their misfortunes.

The best part is the writing. Parry thinks a lot and at a gun fire pace. We read his stream of consciousness throughout the book, since it is all from his point of view in limited third person.

Even though Goodis will never be ranked with Hemingway, I found his writing to be comparable and often surreal.

A movies was made of this novel, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. I remember seeing it, but I don't remember how it ended. I guess I'll have to watch it again.

Goodis also wrote The Fugitive, which was made into a TV series and also a movie, starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones.

Goodis was a kind of fugitive himself. He lived with his parents and schizophrenic brother and would haunt the seedy neighborhoods of Philadelphia. His last slumming escapade ended with him getting badly assaulted. He died shortly after. Maybe Goodis wrote himself into all of his stories.

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Brian Joseph said...

Hi Sharon- This is a fantastic review. The book sounds so good. The characters sound so interesting in a dark way. I kind of remember the film. I remember liking it. Interesting that Goodis also wrote the fugitive. Obviously there are similarities.It sounds as if Goodis had a thing for those unjustly accused.

Cows are neat animals.

Have a great week!

mudpuddle said...

we watched episodes of The Fugitive sometimes in our family... we liked it. Goodis sounds like a sad person... your post reminds of Nelson Algren, the same sort of author... "?The Man With a Golden Arm"...

Silvia said...

Congratulations! It's so fabulous to hear 30 years of marriage.

It sounds great, and the movie as well.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Brian!

Thank you. I think Goodis did have a fascination with the marginalized. I love cows. Have a wonderful week.

Sharon Wilfong said...

HI mudpuddle. I don't know the Man with the Golden Arm but it sounds interesting. I'll have to look it up. Now I'm singing the theme song for Man With the Golden Gun in my head.

He's got a powerful weapon....

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Sylvia!

Not my marriage celebration, but still wonderful that a couple can stick it through thick and thin.

Silvia said...

I feel so stupid. The line read, 'a friend of our's 30th anniversary'

I did read the synopsis of the book, and by the time I went to comment, I just thought it was yours. Anyway, it's wonderful, 30 years.

:) Silvia

Marian H said...

Ohh, I love the Sibelius! <3

This sounds awfully familiar. I might have seen the movie a few years ago. I know I saw something with Bogart escaping from prison, and something with Bogart and a shady romance, haha! The book sounds better developed.

Sharon Wilfong said...

HI Sylvia,

Actually, I think I worded it awkwardly. I should have written the sentence differently. "Josh and I attended the anniversary of our friends" or something.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Marion,

You're right, I think the book is better developed. The movie simplified it all and also you don't have the running narrative, providing the thoughts of the protagonist, which really makes the story so interesting.

Sarah @ All The Book Blog Names Are Taken said...

I never knew The Fugitive was a book first, it was one of my fave movies as a kid - I have loved Harrison Ford from a very early age ;) Fantastic review, glad you enjoyed the text.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Sarah! Harrison Ford in the Fugitive with Tommy Lee Jones is one of my favorite movies too. A bit of trivia: Al Capone's hotel in the movie is the lobby of my university in Chicago (Roosevelt University).