Skip to comments.The other James Jones (THE Great American Novel Found...and Lost)
Posted on 10/21/2010 6:04:42 PM PDT by PJ-Comix
When it was announced recently that National Security Advisor, James Jones, was leaving the White House, the name caused my thoughts to turn to another James Jones. No, not James Earl Jones the actor. Actually my mind focused on James R. Jones the novelist.
Although most people have forgotten about James Jones the novelist or remember him only for his groundbreaking novel, "From Here To Eternity" or, perhaps, "The Thin Red Line," he also wrote what can only be described as THE Great American Novel, "Some Came Running." Perhaps you saw a movie of the same name starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Shirley MacLaine. Well, the character names are pretty much all that the movie has in common with the novel. "Some Came Running" was a sweeping novel of such detail and depth that it can serve as a goldmine for sociologists and psychologists who want to research what post WWII America was like. In many ways, "Some Came Running" covered the same themes (and more) as Sinclair Lewis' "Babbit" with one important difference: the characters in Jones' novel were much more developed.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonexaminer.com ...
(No LCMS Lutherans were harmed in the making of that novel.)
could you give us more details that might interest us without giving the book away?
You should check it out too since it takes place in familiar territory. BTW, all the characters in the novel are based on real characters (including the main character). I did a lot of research on this topic and even ‘Bama Dillard was based directly on a real life person named Arkie Ashby. A big scandal at the time since the folks in Robinson, IL easily knew to whom James Jones was referring in the novel. I don’t think the schoolteacher was any too happy with the novel. Read “Some Came Running” (UNABRIDGED) and find out why.
It is easily the most sweeping (and truthful) novel about American life...without trying to be an "important" book. It is basically about a small IL town based on Robinson, IL but it covers an incredible range of topics. The very rough theme is the tension between the main character (Dave Hirsch) and his Babbit-like brother. However, it is much more broad and multi-dimensional than the Sinclair Lewis novel. Included it is a detailed look at many aspects of life in post WWII America: drinking, gambling, prostitution, American roads before the Interstate Highway System, petty jealousies, political corruption, Southerners, Miami Beach, and...much, much more. Any description would not do it justice. All I can say is read the UNABRIDGED version of "Some Came Running" and you will be absolutely astonished. This is THE Great American Novel but the critics at the time were so petty they slammed it for dopey reasons.
Would you mind giving a hint of what critics slammed in his book?
I have his book, From Here to Eternity, but I am not familiar with this one at all.
I am absolutely astonished now, and not in a good way. I could pull up a rock and find more appealing organisms than those crawling about in Some Came Running.
To each his own. Especially in this case.
Did you actually READ the novel?
I’ve read everything. I can hardly believe you’re not pulling our legs here.
It’s like Proust, James Joyce....it’s Gravity’s Rainbow, And Ladies of the Club, and Giles Goatboy, balled up by Henry Miller and rolled off the presses by a dung beetle in a Kafka mask.
You can’t be serious. This is a Halloween prank, right?
You read the unabridged version? A lot different than the abridged version which is most common. And what did you think of “From Here to Eternity” or “Thin Red Line?”
Jones is great, one of my favorite bits from The Thin Red Line:
We know you there, Yank. Yank, we
know you there.
Tojo eats shit!
He is answered by an angry burst of machine gun FIRE.
Roozover eat shit!
You goddamn right he does!
Not much. But when he wrote SCR he was doing uncut bug juice for sure. YMMV. I will respect that. Just feel it’s my duty to warn folks, if they want to see for themselves, do so safely. Use the public library and blow the money on something else. Put it in a bait machine. Better results.
I’m not sure you even read any of the Jones novels. Not much? You don’t think much of “From Here to Eternity?” Norman Mailer who was a supreme egotist even credited Jones for writing a better WWII novel than his own “The Naked and the Dead.”
Oh well if Norman Mailer liked it...bwahahaha!
Is this the first time anyone has ever disagreed with your literary preferences? You’re taking it kind of hard.
Somehow your criticisms make it seem you haven’t even read any of Jones works. Completely lacking in any specificity.
The subject has already taken more time than it’s worth to me. It’s a forum. You expected no disagreement? Or if you got any, it has to be explained to your satisfaction?
Have a good night.
James Jones, The Art of Fiction No. 22 - Interviewed by Nelson Aldrich
Good night. And when you actually READ James Jones, THEN come back.
Such petulance, I’m surprised at you. Well don’t worry, your attitude makes it unlikely anyone else will disagree with you. That’s if you can find anyone else willing to admit they read it.
Over & out.
Well, it sure sounds like you didn’t read ANY of James Jones.
won't wont hold the movie version of The Thin Red Line against the writer...Though that movie did create one of my fondest memories of my late husband. We were watching the film at the theater, having been tricked by the good reviews. The southern sharpshooter was in the midst of his internal monologue when he has the line, "....the living, and the bor'd..." (Bor'd meaning, borned, rural backwoods for 'people having been born').Anyway, no sooner was that line about "the bor'd" recited when my DH leans over and hisses in my ear, "That would be us". Cracked up right there in the theater. Later, when we we watching the Phantom Menace (again, at the theater) right in the middle, he leans over and whispers, "This is the sci fi Thin Red Line, isn't it?"
If you’d sooner call another FReeper a liar than accept a difference of opinion about a literary work...nothing in the rules against that. Carry on!
Make sure it is the UNABRIDGED version you read. Definitely THE Great American Novel.