The Burglar (book review) David Goodis


051010 second review: i just read it again. realized this is perhaps my favourite goodis- probably for the doomed romance plot. here the plot is clear, is simple, is plausible even when at first glance seems absurd. there is a reason for everything. the protagonist is a professional, an honourable burglar, a man who thinks, who plans and practices, who never wants to hurt anyone, who wants to forever keep his promises. the burglary goes like clockwork. he talks his way out of trouble. he runs his surrogate family smooth and thoughtful. he focuses on what to do, how to do, when and where- but buries all thought of why until it is too late. goodis captures best the real moments just when this character and this other character react emotionally and reveal it is not the money, not the pleasure of stealing, but in the end- love. he loves her as she has grown up to love him. even the dangerous cop realizes it is love of the girl he has always wanted... but he has never had 'class' like our doomed burglar, who only comes to understand love when it is too late, when all you can do is lose...


i read that the philosopher Wittgenstein once dismissed work of fellow academics by pointing to such ‘roman noir’/crime pulp and claiming there was more philosophy in these books than their professional works. even if i am not necessarily rabid fan of him, i would say this is not just a joke but sometimes true, as in this work: always existentialist, always up against the world he has made, always trying to be true, always doomed in love, finally determinist, tragic, inescapable. there is no other way this can end, the way i could only remember in effect and not in detail... i was waiting for it. i up the rating up to a five...


??? 2000s first review: something to be said for a story that goes exactly where you want, direct and concise, writing that does not bore or distract from lean plot. the first goodis i have read, though i have seen truffaut’s film shoot the piano player. sharp, direct, from 53. i see the overwhelming style of hemingway in dialog and short, punchy, description of emotional stoicism. and kerouac in workmanlike prose, cool, rootless, losers. sharp. simple plot. embedded morality. have they made a film out of this- yes but i have not seen it or found it...

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