True-Crime Literature Reviews Of True-Crime Publications - Essay

Reviews Of True-Crime Publications

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

David Lodge (review date 11 January 1980)

SOURCE: "From a View to a Death," in The Times Literary Supplement, January 11, 1980, pp. 27-8.

[In the following review, Lodge discusses The Executioner's Song.]

What the American short-story writer Leonard Michaels calls "the condemned prisoner story" (in a book, I Would Have Saved Them If I Could, which contains and alludes to several examples of the genre) has exercised a powerful fascination over the modern literary imagination. This is not surprising. Capital punishment, and the ritual associated with it, dramatize the inevitability and finality of personal death with a stark intensity that...

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