You may consider the Poverty Holidays Gift Guide to be PDX Writer Daily's gift to you this holiday season. This means that this very feature of this very blog--perhaps, indeed, this very post--is already the best poverty holiday gift, inasmuch as the cost to us, for giving you this gift, is: zero dollars. And yet the true value of this gift, it can truly be said, is: also zero dollars.
But we now forge ahead to the useful information. Let us turn to page one of our lovely, virtual catalog, where we find:
A Coffin for Dimitrios by Eric Ambler
In a recent review, an anonymous cog in the PDXWD machine said of this novel of spies and intrigue:
All of the characters are intelligent, and when they seem not to be, we find we have been misdirected. For example, there's this passage where one of the characters is getting into some purple prose, saying stuff like "International big business may conduct its operations with scraps of paper, but the ink it uses is human blood!" -- and just as the character bangs his fist on the table, and the reader begins to get really sick of the character's histrionics, the narrator comes in and tells us that the protagonist, too, "could never quite get over his distaste for other people's rhetoric." We grin. We feel like we are on the side of the good, intelligent character and the wise narrator, and we are all scoffing discreetly together at this blowhard character.... at which point said character says: "Of course I was exaggerating. But it is agreeable sometimes to talk in primary colors even if you have to think in greys." And we are forced to agree, and we see that we have been silly to condemn him.
The beauty of a novel like A Coffin for Dimitrios, it seems to us, is that it can satisfy so many different reader-types on your holiday-style list. Your Tom Clancy-loving uncle will be pleased to read about Dimitrios's coffin. Your very, very, liter-ary girlfriend will feel hip and cool carrying the tome wherein we learn of the coffin intended for Dimitrios. If you give it to your friend, you might be able to steal it back when he or she is done. And your mom? Well of course your mother appreciates anything you get her. You know that.
Though she hasn't heard of this writer. And this book looks kind of weird. Is this another one of your weird books?
Hold it. Sorry. That's not your mom. That's some other mom. Not yours.
Anyway. A Coffin for Dimitrios is available at your finer local bookstores in lovely, flexible paperback.
And don't miss the next installment of the Impoverished Special Time of Year Present List! Many times you've thought, "I, too, like Ahab, would enjoy raising and owning my very own white whale, but certainly that's not possible." Wrong you are, my friend. With the right tank and the right breed of whale, evenings of Melvillean cetacean enjoyment lie no further than your local pet store. Details tomorrow!