Friday, December 30, 2016

FFB: Sharp Practice -- John Farris

Sharp Practice is an amazing book.  It's a ripper novel, but it's also about a lot of other things: writing, folk music, amnesia, academia, psychology, incest, and lunacy, to name just a few of them.  Farris doesn't skimp on any of them.  It's powerful stuff. 

The writing is amazing.  There are long stretches of almost idyllic scenes, beautifully rendered landscapes, intricate histories, odd characters that take over for a few pages, and then come startling twists and bursts of potent violence.  Word of warning: Don't get too attached to any of the characters.  There's plenty of darkness, along with a little bit of light.  Not much, but a little.  There's even humor.

I've followed John Farris' career for well over 50 years, starting with the great Harrison High.  He's written a little bit of everything, and everything I've read by him has been purely wonderful.  I've never read any of his Harrison High sequels, which I once thought might be just hackwork to put money in the bank (NTTAWWT).  Judy, however, read all of them and thought they were very good.  I have several, and I guess it's time I found out for myself.  Farris is a master, no matter what he's writing, so I'm sure it'll be fun.

7 comments:

David Cranmer said...

I appreciate stories that throw in everything plus the kitchen sink.

George said...

I have several John Farris books I haven't read yet. This sounds like the place to start!

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I still have HARRISON HIGH sitting on the shelf waiting to be read.

As for SHARP PRACTICE, I read it nearly 37 years ago (!) at the recommendation of the late David Rose. Both of you were on target. Great stuff.

Bill Crider said...

David and I were fans of Ripper novels at one time.

Todd Mason said...

Farris is one of those writers I've been meaning to get back to...this looks like an excellent starting place! Thanks.

Richard Robinson said...

The only thing of his I've read is HARRISON HIGH. This seems like a book I should try.

Mathew Paust said...

Well, damn! Another one I've not heard of and now must try. I feel like a horny virgin that's gotten lost at the Chicken Ranch.