MURDER AND OTHER ACTS OF LITERATURE by Michele Slung

MURDER AND OTHER ACTS OF LITERATURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Veteran anthologist Slung avoids the stuffiness attendant on her most distinguished predecessors in the crime-fiction-can-be- literature-too genre (Ellery Queen's Poetic Justice and The Literature of Crime) by loosening her definitions of both crime fiction and literature. Edith Wharton's nightmarish ``A Journey,'' Rudyard Kipling's decorously chilling ``Mary Postgate,'' and John Cheever's deceptively casual ``Montraldo'' are only marginally crime stories; only by stretching a point could the Waspish anecdotes of Evelyn Waugh and A.A. Milne, or the backstage fustian of Louisa May Alcott, be called literature. Yet the two dozen stories she's collected--which also include unexpected entries by W.S. Gilbert, T.H. White, Isak Dinesen, Eudora Welty (an exceptionally creepy little tale), William Trevor (ditto), Patrick O'Brian, Nadine Gordimer, Gabriel Garc°a M†rquez, Muriel Spark, Paul Theroux, Naguib Mahfouz, Alice Walker, Isabel Allende, and Fay Weldon, as well as chestnuts by William Faulkner and James Thurber--however uneven in their melding of literature and crime, are never, ever boring. Though a better title might be Famous Authors Try Their Hands at Crime (Anthony Trollope?! Virginia Woolf?!), Slung's collection is a revelation in more ways than one. (Book-of-the- Month Club main selection)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-16937-X
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1997




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