Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Book Review: Bill S. Ballinger, Portrait in Smoke (1950)

Cleverly and effectively constructed noir. Bill S. Ballinger's method is to juxtapose two narratives, one in first person and one in third, that come together at novel's end. In Portrait in Smoke, Danny April, a small-time bill collector, tells the story of how he becomes obsessed with a young woman named Krassy Almauniski and how he dedicates his life to finding her. His narrative (first person) alternates with Krassy's life story (third person), allowing Ballinger to dramatically contrast Danny's discoveries and theories and fantasies about Krassy with the truth about her life. A memorable read. Grade: A

1 comment:

  1. Just finished reading this. It is brilliant. Almost perfect. My first Ballinger, but not my last.