Thursday, 15 January 2009


My obituary of George Chesbro appears in today's Guardian, just follow this link. I had the sense that he was one of those true American originals, and that, had he lived a generation earlier, he'd have been a tremendous success writing for the terror pulps, and maybe for John Campbell's Unknown. It was impressive the way he'd turned his life around and self-published, and the way in which he was prescient; in an interview I read with him, he spoke of the mid-list author as an endangered species, and sure enough, that process has been exacerbated lately, with 'mid-list' publishers seeming endangered too. Apache River, the press he and his wife ran, not only put his books back in print but , in 2001, published both the very interesting Prism: A Memoir in Fiction, and The Keeper, whose ex-Navy Intelligence officer hero is a Palestinian American.

Chesbro satirised the religious right, and had an irreverence about American institutions which was particularly appreciated in France, something I'd noted when I wrote the obit, but was cut from the piece as it appears. But it helps explain what the obit does mention, that his 15th Mongo book, the brilliantly-titled Lord Of Ice And Loneliness was published in France, but not in the US.

There's a little bit of Philip Dick in Chesbro, not something you can often say about crime writers. But he was sui generis, and deserves to be remembered as something more than a mid-list writer. I like the title 'Dream Of A Falling Eagle' too; it seems appropriate for his life.

1 comment :

Robin said...

Thank you, Michael, for such a fine article so well written. George would have been most pleased in his usual, humble manner.


PS - He always told me to make sure that everyone knows
Mongo and Garth send their regards...