Tuesday, 20 August 2013

RIP ELMORE LEONARD

Despite knowing he couldn't go on forever, the news of Elmore Leonard's death is truly saddening, partly because he went on so long, partly because he did it so well, and partly because he was so matter-of-fact, humble, and good humoured about his success. He was the perfect of example of a writer who laboured at his craft until the world caught up to his talent, and then kept labouring, unspoiled by his success. It was a marvelous run, the kind every pulp writer might have dreamed about. And if he were underappreciated in his early years, he was perhaps over-hyped as mainstream literary people caught up. But if that were true, he certainly deserved it. 
I met him at the NFT. 'Call me Dutch', he said, and after his lecture when he signed my copy of his Complete Western Stories, I hadnt yet realised that it would be the best book I'd read all that year.  The last thing I wrote about him was this essay on Hombre, here on New Year's Day. He will be sorely missed.

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