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Charles Rzepka Celebrates Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard

Charles Rzepka, the author of Being Cool: The Work of Elmore Leonard and a former BUCH fellow, recently contributed an article to WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog: “Circumference Everywhere: Considering Elmore Leonard’s Legacy.” In his piece, Rzepka remenisces on Leonard’s sensability, work ethic, and legacy. The late author “respected good writing” and hated “pretentiousness.” Leonard once told interviewer Lawrence Grobel, “I’m a serious writer, but I don’t take it seriously. I try and relax and swing with it.” Of Leonard’s legacy, Rzpeka says it takes two parts. For readers, Leonard left “a well-trained ensemble of gangbangers and dopedealers and clownish but terrifying psychopaths; cops honest and crooked, high-divers and low-riders, U.S. marshals and Delta mobsters.” For writers, he left his “mastery of free indirect discourse — that dialogue derivative that makes us feel we are ‘listening in’ to a character’s thoughts… [which] he succeeded so well in making it ‘invisible.’” Rzepka’s kind words following the author’s passing ease the pain of his disappearance and remind us that he continues to live on through his wonderful body of work.

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