- the neighboring thriller and mystery genres, Lee Child has carved out for himself a well-deserved place as the Twenty-First Century’s best postmodern adventure writer. He writes deeply real books about a man named Jack Reacher — a hulking, handsome-in-an-ugly-way knight of the highway, who travels America’s lost reaches seeking life experiences and newness. The first novel, Killing Floor, was written by Child (not his real surname) after he got turfed from his job as a TV director.
- Like E.L. James of Fifty Shades of Beat Me Up Sexually fame, another veteran of British television dramas, Lee Child has learned the sense of the visual, and thus transported it to the written page. The tidal wave of television, movies, and now Internet has brought a visual idiom that never could have existed before to the purely imagined world of words.
- It is impossible to overstate how important this is. Words, it turns out, can do a lot of heavy lifting — they are capable of reproducing images and actions, in a sense, with greater fidelity than even Indiana Jones or James Bond up there glowing before our eyes. Holding its own, the world of books shows that a cheap special effects department called “our mind” can show towers toppling over, bodies writhing passionately under the sheets, and most interestingly, complex puzzles and ideas and the thoughts running through people’s minds as they go about their book activities, purely imagined and excitingly drawn.
- That old standby, the book, following a study period in the early 1900s with men like Dreiser and the Irish-American who wrote memorably about his Chicago based urban family, has exploded with innovation in the last third of the Twentieth Century, just as music has, just as movies have. But I would argue the book has thrust viciously into the future, like a blade (see poem a few posts back on this site) and made its visual idiom its own.
- Lee Child has taken an incredibly solid idea and spun it out into literal gold (he owns homes in New York, England and France. “I divide my time between … and …” — the hallmark of the filthy rich bastard writer who kicked ass his way — sing it Frank!). Child’s basic foundational notion is that a man throws away all his possessions, not even a gun on his adventures, and just wings it. He has a toothbrush, and that only to illustrate just how little he has. In one Reacher book, when he goes to the “vast empty” Midwest, so well put by its author, Reacher confiscates guns from a college football team-like group of thugs and ends up with a smashed nose knocked out of joint. It makes you think next time Reacher will pick up a suitcase and stock it with an assortment of guns straight out of that Matrix scene when the racks fly out, but no. Reacher remains simple and innocent, a “child” in a brutal world, whose hamhocked fists and wrestler’s chest thrust out, daring others to challenge him without saying a word.
- Jack Reacher gets laid, but it is not a priority for him — another stance most men would like to emulate, even players. Seducers who work Downtown Toronto’s streets would do well to share Reacher’s occasional trysts and big hand on her shoulder, guiding her to the bed, but ditching her when it’s time to continue his life experiences. The joys of sex (and even the occasional little sparks love and affection can give) pale beside the frisson of stepping into a new reality like a nomad dismounting from his horse a thousand years ago. No one can challenge this.
- The world of fiction is a woman’s wet dream (squirting G-spot moment). It caters to their stupid whims and shitty chick-lit tropes. These books are almost certainly written by men telepathically, but they suck anyway, when there’s females functioning as editors. Lee Child is a necessary counterpalliative to all that toxic gunk the cunts put out and a generous dollop of real life, not telepathic, straight from the orchard of serious ideas. May the Child never grow up.