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The Muddy Fork and Other Things: Short Fiction and Nonfiction, James Crumley

Crumley’s an original who doesn’t write enough. Like the characters of his books, he’s a hard drinker, and it unfortunately affects the output. But would he be the same writer if he wasn’t the same drinker? We’ll never know, so we’ll just have to enjoy what precious little escapes. In The Muddy Fork there’s a little bit of everything, most of it illuminating on Crumley, as well as on the slightly seamy side of the West. This is the modern Western, warts and all, as unlike John Wayne as cyberpunk is unlike Asimov. My favorite stuff here is the non-fiction, but the short fiction and the brief interview is worthwhile. The novel excerpts (from uncompleted novels) I could have missed, at least while Crumley is still alive and the possibility remains that he may finish one of these.

[Finished 16 May 1993]


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