Thursday, December 3, 2009



Robert Parker is hardly forgotten, but this slim volume (written in 1983) is one of his lesser known non-series works – forgotten by all but perhaps the most ardent Parker fans, and even ignored by most of them.

I will say it loud and proud – I am unabashed fan of the writings of Robert Parker. If the man wrote the back of cereal boxes, I’d be eating Fruit Loops in the morning. This doesn’t mean I don’t understand the flaws in his writing – every book is virtually the same; there’s a lot of padding in the pages; there is no difference between his main characters (Spenser, Jesse Stone, Sunny Randall – even sex doesn’t make a difference); Susan Silverman is the most irritating female character in modern fiction; etc., etc. – I just don’t care.

I am constantly fascinated by Parker’s inherent themes and his distinctive fictional voice, which moves easily from private eye fiction to westerns to romance . . . wait, romance?

Yes – and that’s where Love & Glory fits in.


Boone Adams met Jennifer Grayle when they were both eighteen and lost her when they were both twenty-two. His life from that point was a steady descent through the circles of American culture until he hit bottom in Los Angeles ten years later.

Now he has nothing left but his love for Jennifer, a love that has remained unsullied and still, the eye at the center of his hurricane, his only stay against confusion. It saves him. Slowly, with agonizing effort, he comes back – across the country, across the years, across the despair that nearly destroyed him, sustained only by his determination to get Jennifer back.

Love & Glory is a story of love and commitment and regeneration, told in the language of our time and set among the artifacts of recent American culture. In prose that often soars, Love & Glory speaks not only of desolation but of possibility. It speaks not only of Boone and Jennifer but of America, and it hints, obliquely, that perhaps we are not merely “boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

At its heart, Love & Glory is a male romance – it would be despised, however, by most male readers who are hooked into the Texas Chainsaw Massacres that pass as male oriented fiction today. Love & Glory is an old fashioned book, about old fashioned values. It is a book for romantics not thrill seekers.

I treasure this book because it not only reads with the essence of Parker’s distinctive fictional voice, but every theme of manhood, loyalty, friendship, self-worth, and love (with a capital L) Parker has ever written about are contained within the pages of this neglected masterpiece.

I don’t know the man behind the writing (I’ve only met Parker once, and that was in passing), but if he had only written one book – Love and Glory – I’d still be a fan for life.


Bill Crider said...

I'm one of those who hasn't forgotten this one, and I like it a lot.

Evan Lewis said...

Three cheers for standing up for Parker. I'd read cereal boxes too. Heck, I even bought Edenville Owls.