In this, my third read of ~~~Cathy’s swooning over~~~Travis McGee~~~Cathy’s sighing over Travis McGee~~~ok, I admit it, there is no other like Travis McGee in my little black book.
I’m reading much more carefully than ever before in part because of the ongoing discussion of Travis on D. R. Martin’s blog, Travis McGee & Me
when specific questions and discussion come about. Travis McGee, Salvage Consultant
In my opinion, Travis though JDM, of course, is more philosophical in this book than any other book thus far on my third reading. I happen to enjoy, relish probably more accurate, Travis' musings on life.There were a number of thoughtful observations that Travis made in Gold but this one was, I think, my favorite which I could have shortened but wanted the reader to get the entire reasoning behind Travis' remarks:She took me into a study which was also a trophy room. African game. Some very good heads. Leopard, lion, buffalo. There was a case of fine weapons behind glass. There were framed photographs of her, younger, slimmer, just as vital, standing by the dead elephant, rhino, great ape. “My guns,” she said. “My dear dead animals. I took my sainted husband on safari five years running, thinking it would turn him into enough man for me. He killed like an accountant signing a ledger. He bent over a bush to pick a flower for me and a snake struck him in the throat. He was dead before he could fall to the ground. If it was permitted, I would have his head in here, mounted like the others.“ Then later, “You might be enough man for me.”
Travis speaking in the first person, “I do not like the killers, and the killing bravely and well crap. I do not like the bully boys, the Teddy Roosevelts, the Hemingways, the Ruarks. They are merely slightly more sophisticated version of the New Jersey file clerks who swarm into the Adirondacks in the fall, in red cap, beard stubble and taut hero’s grin, talking out of the side of their mouths, exuding fumes of bourbon, come to slay the ferocious white tail deer. It is the search for balls. A man should have his shot at something, a shining running something, and see it come a-tumbled down, all mucus and steaming blood stench and gouted excrement, the eyes going dull the final muscle spasms. And if he is, in all parts and purposes, a man, he will file that away as a part of his process of growth and life and eventual death. And if he is perpetually, hopelessly a boy, he will just to go do it again, with a bigger beast.”
And later “There is one thing which strikes me as passing strange. Never have I met a man who had the infantry memories, who had knocked down human meat and seen it fall, who ever had any stomach for shooting living things.” Then later…speaking of another character in the book…”He would need no romantic fantasies about himself. His manhood would need no artificial reinforcing.”
If a reader does not like JDM's writing, doesn't like Travis McGee, that’s fine with me. However, the following authors have made many extraordinary comments about John D. MacDonald’s writing and looking over the list, I would be hard pressed to say they don’t know what they're talking about or they have terrible taste in the written word:
Mary Higgins Clark
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.