- Hardcover: 408 pages
- Publisher: Thorndike Pr; Large Print edition (1 December 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786258802
- ISBN-13: 978-0786258802
- Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
McNally's Dare (Thorndike Press Large Print Basic Series) Hardcover – Large Print, Import
|Hardcover, Large Print, Import||
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
At first, the TENNIS EVERYONE! gala in the opening chapter felt like GATSBY redone in an Archy slant, exposing the ennui and utter superficiality of the repetitively empty, "grand" doings of the very wealthy, accompanied by the utter terror of not being invited, by those aspiring to remain in good standing in the social strata of Palm Beach.
Do I have a natural interest in social class issues? The truth? Not really. People are what they are. I am what I am. I've proudly earned everything I have, and have no desire to cling to anyone's skirts, especially not if they're of designer quality, with the resultant price tag. Wouldn't want to seem (seam?) unseemly. I'm okay (for now) with the comfy "rags" I wear and wear, until the holes become too obvious or too breezy.
Yet, Lardo made this social climber scene interesting to me. As a coup of a bonus to that, he designed the situation into a light literary artistry, without the drama descending into depressing drudgery.
I was surprised to realize I had immediately become curious about who Jeff Rodgers and Lance Talbot were and how they were connected. Ironically, considering the outcome (in a complexly satisfying ending), I wanted to know who the real Lance Talbot was, and what his story was, as contrasted the real Jeff Rodgers. I realized that Lardo might be making a statement of disdain of class pretension's chilling abuse to the "less fortunate" young people serving the Palm Beach "snobs," but whatever.
The more I read in this novel, the more it felt very different from any of the previous 11 novels in the series (see my Listmania and reviews). It almost felt to me as if it had been written in a geographic location very potent to the author, though not in Palm Beach. Its atmosphere felt like the Hamptons, as that area has been described by those who live there (thank you again, "HeyJudy," Top 1000 Amazon Reviewer, for insights on your home grounds) or have visited, and especially as described in Cleo Coyle's latest coffeehouse mystery, MURDER MOST FROTHY (See my Listmania and review). In that novel this special area was vividly described, not merely as a cultural phenomenon but as having an unusually ethereal feel in the sunlight and climate. The way Coyle described it made me think of a sort of heaven on earth. Strange.
Yet, the exclusivity of the tremendous heights of wealth of both old and new money in the Hamptons, as described by many authors who have used that area as a location for a novel, seems to have somehow diminished the prime or pristine physical atmosphere. On the other hand, in the cold light of reality, might the exclusivity have also preserved something of value in that ethereal glow? I truly don't know. Cocoons are necessary for caterpillars to metamorphose into butterflies.
I may never have the opportunity to actually step foot into any of The Hamptons, but I feel as though I have, through reading McNally's DARE (with the preparation of MURDER MOST FROTHY). Yet, (I kept reminding myself) the novel's plot took place in Palm Beach. Did Vincent Lardo somehow transfer the atmosphere of his Hamptons home to his plot in DARE? Did he write the plot while living so solidly and joyfully in the Hamptons that he unintentionally transposed one geography onto the other?
Whatever happened, I enjoyed the privilege of Lardo's Transportation Device.
Final last words are that I'm still trying to understand, more precisely, how/why DARE felt so different in so many ways from the previous 11 novels. It's like a third Archy rose out of the ashes of the first and second versions (Sanders' then Lardo's). Archy has 2 new cozy cohorts, Georgy and Denny, and his relationships with his regulars have changed (especially with his father); he received (it seemed to me) more teasing and more flack, and he etched out more underlying respect. To me, it felt like a 37-year-old man was just stepping into an early, youthful manhood. It felt like he was stepping into the Palm Beach social arena, for the first time seeing it, feeling the potency of the open doors of high echelon money, fame, and status, which had always been open to him, but, he hadn't understood the import of the position to which his father and grandfather had contributed their strongest talent and clearest blood.
Of course I felt the parallel to the situations of the two authors of this series as well.
Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis?
As it appears,