Sunday, December 02, 2012

Gil Brewer: The Brat

I meant to do this for the Friday's Forgotten Book series, but I didn't have enough time on my hands. I've been rather tired lately - frustrated even - and am already on some sort of a Christmas vacation (which the tax refund, paid to me by the state of Finland, makes possible). I've been doing too much work for the past couple of years and it's starting to show.

Sorry, didn't mean to vent. Gil Brewer's The Brat (1957) is a prime example of Brewer's mix of white-collar noir and backwoods exoticism: "the brat" of the title is a sultry babe living somewhere in the Florida swamps whom the lead man takes away to the civilization to live with her - only to notice that "the brat" has something in her mind.

I'm sure The Brat was the publisher's title, since this babe sure is no brat, she's an evil liar and a scumbag. You might call Brewer - or at least his books - misogynistic and you'd well be right. But there's no denying the simple, yet forceful narrative drive in the best of his works. An important issue is also his handling of the bourgeoisie despair: there's not much living beyond the boundaries of the family and work. And when these boundaries break, the nightmare awaits.

I don't really like the cover of the book. It looks like the femme fatale of the book is wearing diapers.

The book is readily available from Prologue Books as an e-book. (I read this from my Kindle and I'm not complaining any about it.)


James Reasoner said...

I wondered if Brewer's original title was "Calamity Run", which was the title of the aborted movie that was supposed to be filmed in the Everglades. That sounds sort of like a Gold Medal title.

Juri said...

That's a good choice, James. Would fit better than the actual title.