Thursday, June 16, 2016

THE GRIFTERS by Jim Thompson

Ok, here goes. I started to read The Grifters and got about 70 pages in until I began to wonder whether or not, I was reading the right book. Like maybe it was a novelization of the movie (which I haven't seen)? Because not only did I love the two other Jim Thompson books I've read previously, so many people are fans of this particular book and it couldn't possibly be the one I was reading, right? I was expecting an entertaining con man thriller at worst, or another masterpiece of noir at best. But what I was reading was a bland soap opera about a love triangle between a short-con artist, his mother and his girlfriend. Maybe if I knew that's what it was from the start, I would've enjoyed it... It just kept going back and forth about his Roy's mommy issues, and his conflicting desires to leave grifting behind. I even looked up the Wikipedia synopsis to make sure that I wasn't missing anything.

I didn't. I was pretty uninterested, but I thought: Okay, this is building a set-up and then Thompson is gonna start putting it into overdrive in the 2nd half. Then the 2nd half of the book came and went. And it was more of the same, even up to the ending that people supposedly love. A big redeeming factor though is that Thompson's narrative voice is so enjoyable to read. That kept me going. But ultimately, I was disappointed that this one wasn't for me, and I'm most definitely in the very small minority. I thought the characters were easily forgettable and story itself pretty uneventful.


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