Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"The Tin Roof Blowdown"

James Lee Burke, a rare winner of two Edgar Awards, is the author of over twenty novels, including such New York Times bestsellers as Bitterroot, Purple Cane Road, Cimarron Rose, Jolie Blon's Bounce, and Dixie City Jam.

Invited to apply the "Page 69 Test" to his new novel The Tin Roof Blowdown, Burke weighed in with the following:
The Tin Roof Blowdown is probably my best work. I write a novel or a story as well as I can and I don't look back on it later. Kerouac once said that every piece of writing is a work of art if the writer gives it his best. He went on to say that it's best the reader make the determination about the book's success or lack of it, and the writer shouldn't have a say in things once the work is completed.

I was a great admirer of Kerouac and always felt that his career and life were a tragedy. But regardless of the afflictions he may have suffered, he left behind one quote that will always remain with me. He was drunk in a bar in Lowell, Massachusetts, when out of nowhere he said to an old friend of mine*, "Your art is the Holy Ghost blowing through your soul."

In my opinion, Jack said it all right there.

[*His name was Bruce Cook, a really fine fellow and gentleman of the old school. He had great reverence for Kerouac's work and wrote some of the best criticism on it.--JLB]
Visit James Lee Burke's website and read an excerpt from The Tin Roof Blowdown.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue