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The Crazyladies of Pearl Street: A Novel

The Crazy Ladies of Pearl Street - Trevanian the cri de coeur may be my favorite micro-genre of writing. just think, 7 billion people in this world. 1 billion live on $1 a day; the next ilves on $2. the third billion lives on $5/day, but that's still somewhat largely an illiterate or pen-less group. something will come out that third cohort, one day, but it remains the 1 in a billion odds situation.

it's not until you reach the middle billion human beings, $10/day, that we begin to find literacy and access to global media. this experience has been examined--but more from the outside than the inside. Coetzee imagined the illiterate Michael K, who is at various points either herding goats or dimly understanding the social changes around him. finally we hit $30/day, $70/day, $200/day. these are the world's connected. internet, television, computers--actually, shucks, why are there only 2 million complete, publishable English language books?

(answer, of course, most of are happy to read a few hundred books in our lives; less than 2% of course ever write one. multiplying the 2% against the 3 billion potential writers: 60 million potential books, yet of course only a third of the world speaks English. 20 million. now we're getting to grasping the reading/writing situation of our globalized universe.

I've gotten off-track, of course. the cri de couer is a microgenre, because of course first one has to establish a series of published and read works before you feel that impulse, "oh god, there is one story that I have to tell; that has nothing to do with the crowds' reception." and then, one supposes, either everything else is redeemed or the book falls flat.

J.G. Ballard, known to a devoted microcult of British sci fi dystopoia fans, suddenly shoots to global acclaim with EMPIRE OF THE SUN. but Trevanian, the micro-observer of "meta" spy thrillers, goes the opposite direction here in CRAZYLADIES and creates a much more forgettable work. it would never have been published, one thinks, had the author not been Trevanian.

If you like "tough childhood" accounts, if you are already a Trevanian booster, this is for you. For everyone else, 3/5