Monday, 17 June 2013

Picaresque? Learned I ain't!

The other day I had a writing friend make a very astute observation about my Ger Mayes series of crime novels (I can say series now since the second book was released on 15th June.) He said, "Well, you've written another picaresque novel." I had to wonder about his spelling and, considering Getting Out of Dodge: Peril 2 is set in the medieval Irish city of Kilkenny, I agreed that it might be considered picturesque. But, before I wrote back with my smart-arse comments, I thought I'd better go Google, as people do when they suspect that they're not as smart as they'd like to think they are.

This is what I found (courtesy of Wikipedia, similar definitions on Merriam-Webster, the free dictionary, Encyclopaedia Britannica and others):

The picaresque novel (Spanish: "picaresca," from "pícaro," for "rogue" or "rascal") is a popular sub-genre of prose fiction which might sometimes be satirical and depicts, in realistic and often humorous detail, the adventures of a roguish hero of low social class who lives by his wits in a corrupt society. This style of novel originated in 16th-century Spain and flourished throughout Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. It continues to influence modern literature.

Well, I always thought I was a learned type of guy but I had never heard of picaresque before. Sure, I recognise the character and it fits Ger Mayes to a T. What it made me realise, as I push into my second half-century, is that learned I ain't. I just have a very good memory for what I read and see. This humble pie tastes good. I've been calling Peril urban noir ever since a reviewer wrote that about it. The moral of the story, for me, is that sometimes you don't know what you've written until someone reads it and tells you. That's the beauty of reader reviews.

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1 comment:

  1. Anything with Ger anywhere nearby is indeed picaresque! I also think of another Spanish word using the root: Picador -- those men who poke the bull into a frenzy from horseback before the matador enters the bullring. Seriously annoying.