Thriller author Don Winslow on his new book and his retirement – Kultur

Don Winslow devoted decades of his life to cruelty and crime. He continued to invent new ways of killing and dying for the protagonists in his novels. He depicted in gory detail the worst that humans can do, and he was very successful at it. If one were to do this for a long time, one must have an enormous tolerance for evil. Not so Winslow. Not wanted anymore. A few days ago, his new book “City on Fire” was published, which is the first part of a trilogy, the second and third of which he has already completed. He wants to end his writing career at the age of 68.

But it was not the terrible world of drug gangs and mafia clans that prompted him to refrain from writing. It’s Donald Trump. “In the United States, and perhaps around the world, we are in an existential crisis for democracy. From now on, I want to invest all my talents in the fight for them,” he explains by phone. And he doesn’t want to take this fight to the books, but with his highly successful videos, which are so powerful that they make his mafia and drug movies look like Elizabethan Bildungsroman. subordinate boiled Crime writer turns radical political activist – this career turn is unusual.

“It’s always interesting to show an environment in decline.”

What is clear, however, is that Winslow is at the peak of his ability. “City on Fire” is as exciting as all of Winslow’s books, but much more complex. How many countless threads he spins in this first part of the trilogy he picks up again in parts two and three remains to be seen.

For Winslow, the big end to his career is a kind of homecoming. The location is Providence, Rhode Island, USA. He grew up nearby before moving to New York and California. At the time of the event, 1986, the city still contained an important port. Two local mafia families also make a living with near-valid humility: the Irish-born Murphy and the Italian-born Moretes. One controls the docks, the other controls the trucking companies, and they also run their other businesses, loans and extortion. The two small-town clans like to see themselves as a kind of welfare institution from below: When children in Dogtown, their slum, need new sneakers, parents buy goods that have fallen out of the container from them at the friendly price of a trunk.

Providence, Rhode Island, 1985. The Irish and Italians, Winslow writes, “spread the town like a Sunday roast, but were smart enough to leave enough slices of Yankees to keep them fat and content.”

(Photo: Bill Powers/The Associated Press)

The Murphys and Moretes share a warm enmity, but as descendants of ancient immigrant groups, they are also unspoken allies against the hated Yankees. And when the old Italian clan chief Pasco Ferri always throws a big barbecue on Labor Day, the Irish are, of course, invited. With polished affection, Winslow makes his characters appear as if they were just you and me, with their fears: waning marital feelings, alcoholism, breast cancer, childhood trauma. But from the first pages, ominous signs are increasing: after the fishing industry no longer brings much, the port loses its relevance. The heyday of organized crime is over. “It’s always interesting to show an environment in decline. The less there is left to fight for, the more brutal the fight,” Winslow explains.

and broke up. As soon as a beautiful stranger emerges from the sea in front of the gangsters on their vacation, the fragile truce ends. It acts as a catalyst for a deadly chemical reaction. And not even Danny Ryan can stop them, the son of former clan leader Marty, who has never given up his hope of integrating the mafia business into a peaceful middle-class life.

“I’m sick of always bringing spoons to the stabbing place”

Winslow neither celebrates nor denounces his heroes. “I like some of them, and some I don’t,” he says. “It is not my duty to make moral judgments about them. I try to allow the reader to experience their world through their eyes.” But the more broken this world is depicted, the more the reader will wonder why Winslow was not told of the life of a cellist or that of an archaeologist. Winslow laughs and says, “I write puzzles, that’s my literary genre,” as if a plumber doesn’t have to explain why he can’t build a table. Then he comes up with an explanation: “Crime stories are about people on the brink of deathPeople in difficult and dangerous situations that show their personality. This genre also allows me to explore social issues.”

Wouldn’t it be more obvious, rather than changing the medium for now, to try a different genre, writing political thrillers or gripping fictionAnd the Has such a great tradition in America? Winslow denies: “Others could do it better.” Also: “Clausewitz said you should always fight on the battlefield of your choice. But that’s not always possible. Now social media is the battlefield. My ability to write short, sharp sentences is probably well suited for that.”

The End of Don Winslow's Career: Don Winslow: A City on Fire.  a novel.  Translated from the English Connie Loach.  HarperCollins, Hamburg 2022. 400 pages, €22.

Don Winslow: A City on Fire. a novel. Translated from the English Connie Loach. HarperCollins, Hamburg 2022. 400 pages, €22.

Winslow started the videos during the last US presidential campaign. It has already been watched by 250 million people on YouTube. He’s producing it with author Shane Salerno, who has written the screenplays for Armageddon, Avatar, Shaft, and the film adaptation of Winslow’s drug novel Savages, among others. Winslow’s sentence shocked, and in fact, the blockbuster drama of Salerno resulted in a highly effective radical art.

Whether it’s stinging, batting below the belt, or prying, the two will stop at nothing to attack right-wing candidates, members of the Trump family, or Republicans. They make fun of them with undisguised pictures, newspaper clippings and embarrassing videos. They fuel their choreography with chord sauce, drum rolls, bass bombs and the rest of Hollywood’s vocal arsenal. But the goosebumps of these two-minute clips are mostly due to Winslow’s sentences: as in one of the recent videos filmed against Ivanka Trump: “Ivanka Trump is a fraud, everything about her life is a lie,” the words cracking embarrassing photos of Trump’s daughter as if she from a drilled exhaust pipe. “I learned how to cheat from the world’s biggest liar. It’s anti-women, anti-American.” And as they usually do towards the end of their positions, Winslow and Salerno raised the volume to the end: “It’s not for America, it’s not for women, She is only for Ivanka. “

Winslow doesn’t accept that with such overly aggressive attacks, he might lose those viewers who would be most receptive to his messages: “You can find that aggressive,” he says, “but I’m sick of the fact that we always come to spank the other party willing to do it and say Anything, and we always want to be very nice and logical, so why should I be nice when people like the democratically elected government of the United States on January 6, 2021 try? I really have no problem punching them in the face, figuratively speaking. They need to “. Winslow knows how to put punches right.

Leave a Comment