Sunday, September 20, 2009

Great Books Great Entertainment

This time I’m talking about Passchendaell, Divine Justice, The Good Old Boys.

The Good Old Boys by Elmer Kelton
I originally read this at some time around its release which was in 1978 although I had forgotten almost everything about it. Of course, anything written by Mr. Kelton is usually worth at least two reads even if you haven’t forgotten the story. The Good Old Boys is no exception. A great look at trying to make a go of farming in the US South West or anywhere else, for that matter. The problems are exacerbated by the timing, the first years of the 20th century and the financial depression of the era. It’s also a good look at the stuffed shirts (or in this case a pompous fool and a miser) who think they run the world but are actually just getting in the way of those who do.
The protagonist here is Hewey Calloway. Apparently there are other Calloway books and I’m looking forward to finding them.
It’s a very sad thing that Elmer Kelton will never add to his great body of works. I will miss him greatly. But he leaves a great legacy in some great stories.

Divine Justice by David Baldacci
This is another in the great ‘Camel Club’ series. I’ve read most of them and enjoyed all. Actually, I hope I missed at least one since they are so entertaining and Divine Justice is the last. No matter, they are so entertaining and my memory is so short I can read them all again in a few years.
The Camel Club is lead by an older gentleman who calls himself Oliver Stone. In an earlier life (and an earlier series by Mr. Baldacci) he was John Carr, ex Special Forces and member of an elite killing squad. The only way he could retire was by ‘dieing’ and re-emerging as Oliver Stone.
The other Camel Club members are a diverse group with a variety of backgrounds and very diverse characters.
Great suspense, great conspiracy and a great read.

Passchendaell by Paul Gross (originally)
This is the best story I’ve read in a very long time. The only problem I have with it is that it is “Based on the screenplay by Paul Gross.” Does that mean that Paul Gross also wrote the novel? Does it mean that Mr. Gross was too busy to write the novel (which I can certainly believe and understand given the body of work he has done in the past few years) and had someone else write it? If the latter is the case, who did the writing?
This is not really important but a small thing that bothers me.
This is a great story about WWI and the people … the farmers, cowboys, loggers, fishermen, home makers, sons and daughters … from all over Canada who fought it.
A great movie and a great read.

Mr. Gross has received several awards for his acting and writing. He deserves several more for Passchendaell.

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