A Great 20th Century Writer Whom Everyone Forgot
In May of 2011, one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century died and no one cared enough to notice. A handful (if that) of obituaries for Newton Thornburg appeared online, and it took me almost an entire year to stumble upon news of his passing at the age of 81. By the time of his death, Thornburg had been long gone from the literary world, courtesy of a stroke that paralyzed his entire left side, but he hadn’t gone unread and unloved throughout his career. He was immensely popular during the ‘70s, the decade which produced most of his major works. He was a writer who was appreciated and acclaimed, yet nobody now knows who he is.
Thornburg is best defined by his 1976 masterpiece Cutter and Bone. It is a tragic, despairing novel about a mysterious murder that hits you over and over again right up to the last sentence. Thornburg’s prose has always been sharper than an ice pick, and he maintained a grim sense of humour that would make Morrissey look chirpy. Like all great crime fiction writers, he wrote blistering dialogue. The one-liners shattered over your head like a beer bottle.
Scrittori sconosciuti. Storie.