Usually the Hard Word Book Club discusses short, punchy novels. Many times we read books under two hundred pages. Get ready for a work out this month, though, with The Twenty-Year Death by Ariel Winter, coming in at a little over six hundred pages.
In fact, the novel is three books in one; each reflects a classic author who was writing at his peak in the time period the story is set in. The first takes place in the 1930s with a French inspector- in the vein of George Simenon’s Maigret – who looks into the death of a prison inmate killed outside the prison. He becomes drawn to the victim’s daughter who is married to an American writer, Rozenkrantz. We then go to the 1940s in LA with a Raymond Chandler-style PI hired to protect a daughter who is now an actress. The third tale is a Jim Thompson-esque downward spiral of Rozenkrantz. By the end the sum of all three books creates a fourth novel.
The Twenty Year Death will provide a great discussion about style, genre, character, and the different authors Winter deftly imitates. We’ll be meeting up at 7PM on the third floor on January, Wednesday the 29th. The book is 10% off for those who attend. Next month, on February 26th, we’ll be discussing Jedidiah Ayres’ F*ckload Of Shorts.