Friday, August 26, 2011

James Lee Burke- Part One (PEGASUS DESCENDING)

This is the first edition of a six part series of interviews with James Lee Burke. I will begin with our interview done in 2006 when we discussed PEGASUS DESCENDING. (KINDLE) You can read what I wrote about the book in 2006. My feeling that Mr. Burke is an American master have increased. I am nearly finished reading FEAST DAY FOR FOOLS, the new Hack Hackleberry novel (publication date 9/27). FEAST DAYS continues Mr. Burke's string of classic novels. I do not use that term lightly.

I continue to believe that James Lee Burke's body of work has achieved the level of 'classic literature'. His books will be read (and studied) 100 years from now- if we have bookstores. It pains me to think  of reading Mr. Burke's work electronically. If you have not discovered his work do yourself a favor. Buy THE NEON RAIN and get started.

The series will culminate with a live discussion of FEAST DAY FOR FOOLS shortly after its publication.

I will interview George Pelecanos next Friday to discuss THE CUT. I will feature that interview next week.

So go ahead and get started with my discussion with James Lee Burke regarding PEGASUS DESCENDING.  Enjoy!


Week of July 19, 2006 | James Lee Burke
Make no mistake; with PEGASUS DESCENDING Mr. Burke has joined the ranks of our country’s finest authors. We read the classics to learn how authors viewed the era during which they lived. We learn about Russia by reading Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. We read Jane Austen, Ernest Hemmingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Eudora Welty for the same reason. 

In a perverse form of serendipity, Dave Robicheaux has emerged as the man who tells us what it’s like to live in the United States in 2006. I normally use my book mark to tell myself where I stopped reading the book I’m involved with. My bookmark got a workout with PEGASUS DESCENDING because I simply had to stop and savor the power of Mr. Burke’s prose on numerous occasions. 

PEGASUS DESCENDING is an important book and deserves to be read. I am often asked who my favorite writer is. Up until Andre Dubus died in 1999 the answer was an easy one. Since his death the answer to that question has changed from time to time. The answer now is James Lee Burke. 
We should all feel lucky to be alive while he is writing at the top of his literary power, and I hope PEGASUS DESCENDING begins making it onto summer reading lists for students. Let’s educate young readers who are old enough to handle the material in Mr. Burke’s novels to read his work. 

We lose a lot of young readers by making them read books they have no interest in. Some of the scenes in PEGASUS DESCENDING are disturbing, there’s no arguing that. I turned on the news after re-reading the novel and what I saw on television disturbed me much more than any of the scenes in PEGASUS DESCENDING.

BLOG HOP! Visit the Blog Hop to find out about other book blogs.  This week's question is

“Non-book-related this week!! Do you have pets?”

My dog Karma is still with me in spirit.

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