Trevanian

(There is a quasi-introduction to this post in the previous one, ‘Chiang Mai – Browsing Used Book Stores’)

Would you read the back cover of a book titled ‘The Loo Sanction’ (loo is British slang for toilet / bathroom)? I did, of course. By 100 pages in I knew I’d have to read the rest of the author’s novels.

I’d never heard of him, but had seen The Eiger Sanction, a Clint Eastwood movie based on his first novel, a spoof of Ian Flemming’s Bond stories. Some of the literary critics missed that essential aspect. The film’s screen writer and director either missed or ignored the spoof, or maybe I didn’t get it. Trevanian responded by writing his next book (‘The Loo Sanction’) as a broader spoof. I got it.

He wrote 8 novels, each in a markedly different style. The author avoided all publicity so people assumed ‘Trevanian’ was a pen name used by a group of authors. After all, what sole author could write so well in disparate ways? Trevanian. How did he do it? In a 1998 interview with Newsweek, he said that with each new book, he first decided what author should tell the story. He used Method-acting techniques to imagine himself as that author in order to work into the story he wanted to tell.

Should you check him out? Well, he has broad appeal: 5 of his novels sold more than a million copies each. But Trevanian also said of his fans: “The Trevanian Buff is a strange and wonderful creature: an outsider, a natural elitist, not so much a cynic as an idealist mugged by reality, not just one of those who march to a different drummer, but the solo drummer in a parade of one.” For better or worse, I see myself in that description. Is that TMI (too much information)?

Trevanian on Amazon.

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