Mr. Majestyk Part 20

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Amis: Among the differences from your earlier books, this book is more discursive, less dialogue-driven and, till the end, less action-driven. Toward the end, you get a familiar Leonard scenario where there's a chunk of money sitting around, and various people are after it and you're pretty confident that it's going to go to the least-undeserving people present. And it's not hard-bitten; it's a much more romantic book than we're used to from you. Could your Westerns have had such romance? Among the differences from your earlier books, this book is more discursive, less dialogue-driven and, till the end, less action-driven. Toward the end, you get a familiar Leonard scenario where there's a chunk of money sitting around, and various people are after it and you're pretty confident that it's going to go to the least-undeserving people present. And it's not hard-bitten; it's a much more romantic book than we're used to from you. Could your Westerns have had such romance?

Leonard: No. In my Westerns there was little romance except in No. In my Westerns there was little romance except in Valdez Is Coming Valdez Is Coming, which is my favorite of the Westerns. No, I just wanted to make this a romantic adventure story.

Amis: And there's a kind of political romanticism, too. You've always sided with the underdog, imaginatively; one can sense that. And who could be more of an underdog than a criminal? And your criminals have always been rather implausibly likable and gentle creatures. What is your view about crime in America? And there's a kind of political romanticism, too. You've always sided with the underdog, imaginatively; one can sense that. And who could be more of an underdog than a criminal? And your criminals have always been rather implausibly likable and gentle creatures. What is your view about crime in America?

Leonard: I don't have a view about crime in America. There isn't anything I can say that would be interesting at all. When I'm fashioning my bad guys, though (and sometimes a good guy has had a criminal past and then he can go either way; to me, he's the best kind of character to have), I don't think of them as bad guys. I just think of them as, for the most part, normal people who get up in the morning and they wonder what they're going to have for breakfast, and they sneeze, and they wonder if they should call their mother, and then they rob a bank. Because that's the way they are. Except for real hard-core guys. I don't have a view about crime in America. There isn't anything I can say that would be interesting at all. When I'm fashioning my bad guys, though (and sometimes a good guy has had a criminal past and then he can go either way; to me, he's the best kind of character to have), I don't think of them as bad guys. I just think of them as, for the most part, normal people who get up in the morning and they wonder what they're going to have for breakfast, and they sneeze, and they wonder if they should call their mother, and then they rob a bank. Because that's the way they are. Except for real hard-core guys.

Amis: The really bad guys. The really bad guys.



Leonard: Yeah, the really bad guys.... Yeah, the really bad guys....

Amis: Before we end, I'd just like to ask you about why you keep writing. I just read my father's collected letters, which are going to be published in a year or two. It was with some dread that I realized that the writer's life never pauses. You can never sit back and rest on what you've done. You are driven on remorselessly by something, whether it's dedication or desire to defeat time. What is it that drives you? Is it just pure enjoyment that makes you settle down every morning to carry out this other life that you live? Before we end, I'd just like to ask you about why you keep writing. I just read my father's collected letters, which are going to be published in a year or two. It was with some dread that I realized that the writer's life never pauses. You can never sit back and rest on what you've done. You are driven on remorselessly by something, whether it's dedication or desire to defeat time. What is it that drives you? Is it just pure enjoyment that makes you settle down every morning to carry out this other life that you live?

Leonard: It's the most satisfying thing I can imagine doing. To write that scene and then read it and it works. I love the sound of it. There's nothing better than that. The notoriety that comes later doesn't compare to the doing of it. I've been doing it for almost forty-seven years, and I'm still trying to make it better. Even though I know my limitations; I know what I can't do. I know that if I tried to write, say, as an omniscient author, it would be so mediocre. It's the most satisfying thing I can imagine doing. To write that scene and then read it and it works. I love the sound of it. There's nothing better than that. The notoriety that comes later doesn't compare to the doing of it. I've been doing it for almost forty-seven years, and I'm still trying to make it better. Even though I know my limitations; I know what I can't do. I know that if I tried to write, say, as an omniscient author, it would be so mediocre. You You can do more forms of writing than I can, including essays. My essay would sound, at best, like a college paper. can do more forms of writing than I can, including essays. My essay would sound, at best, like a college paper.

Amis: Well, why isn't there a Martin Amis Day? Because January 16, 1998, was Elmore Leonard Day in the state of Michigan, and it seems that here, in Los Angeles, it's been Elmore Leonard Day for the last decade. [Laughter] Well, why isn't there a Martin Amis Day? Because January 16, 1998, was Elmore Leonard Day in the state of Michigan, and it seems that here, in Los Angeles, it's been Elmore Leonard Day for the last decade. [Laughter]

[Applause]

Editor's note: Martin Amis is the author of many novels - including Money: A Suicide Note; London Fields; and Night Train - and many works of nonfiction, including a collection of essays and criticism, The War Against Cliche, in which may be found other interesting observations on the work of Elmore Leonard. Martin Amis is the author of many novels - including Money: A Suicide Note; London Fields; and Night Train - and many works of nonfiction, including a collection of essays and criticism, The War Against Cliche, in which may be found other interesting observations on the work of Elmore Leonard.

About the Author.

Elmore Leonard has written more than three dozen books during his highly successful writing career, including the national bestsellers Tishomingo Blues, Pagan Babies, and Be Cool. Many of his novels have been made into movies, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Valdez Is Coming, and Rum Punch (as Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown). He has been named Grand Master by Mystery Writers of America and lives in Bloomfield Village, Michigan, with his wife.

Books by Elmore Leonard

The Bounty Hunters The Law at Randado Escape from Five Shadows Last Stand at Saber River Hombre The Big Bounce The Moonshine War Valdez Is Coming Forty Lashes Less One Mr. Majestyk 52 Pickup Swag Unknown Man #89 The Hunted The Switch Gunsights Gold Coast City Primeval Split Images Cat Chaster Stick LaBrava Glitz Bandits Touch Freaky Deaky Killshot Get Shorty Maximum Bob Rum Punch Pronto Riding the Rap Out of Sight Cuba Libre The Tonto Woman and Other Western Stories Be Cool Pagan Babies Tishomingo Blues

Mr. Majestyk Part 20

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Mr. Majestyk Part 20 summary

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