Odyssey Online

Elmore Leonard, RIP

September 2, 2013 · No Comments

Elmore Leonard is the reason to read print books (rather than e-books).  Leonard died in mid August at the age of 87.  He is best known for his novel Get Shorty (which was made in a very popular film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld starring John Travolta, Danny DeVito and Gene Hackman), and he wrote scores of other books and screenplays.  His prose is elegance itself, no matter how gritty or violent the plots of his works become.  Speaking to his prose he claimed that the secret to his success was “I never show off.” His narratives are expertise wrought as invitation–truly they are stories that nudge you to read just a little further, just a little further, another chapter, all the while the night grows longer.  The impossibility of putting the book down is his legacy as a writer of books.  He is such a master that the world inside of one of the stories begs being held.  They are stories for reading at night when the only light the one overhead, and they beg being found by serendipity.  When I read “Tales of Jim Toole’s Tiny Bookstore” I remembered how I found copies of Leonard’s novels in used bookstores in North Country and in New Hampshire.   They are books to be found the way you meet people, by chance or chanced introduction, and like people, they are best understood face-to-face.

The libraries of the North Country Library System have a fine collection of Elmore Leonard books.  In ODY, we have a number of his more recent books that nicely represent Leonard’s voice and talent:

Elmore Leonard, RIP


Categories: Books · Essay on Bibliography

St. Lawrence University