This weekís guest
is James Lee
Burke. We discuss his new novel PEGASUS
DESCENDING, published by Simon & Schuster. Enjoy!
I did not make it my book club selection due to
the dark nature of the book; itís not for everyone.
But make no mistake; with PEGASUS DESCENDING
Mr. Burke has joined the ranks of our countryís finest authors.
We read the classics to learn how authors viewed the era during
which they lived. We learn about
by reading Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. We read Jane Austen, Ernest
Hemmingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Eudora Welty for the same
In a perverse form of serendipity, Dave
Robicheaux has emerged as the man who tells us what itís like to
live in the
in 2006. I normally use my book mark to tell myself where I stopped
reading the book Iím involved with. My bookmark got a workout with
PEGASUS DESCENDING because I simply had to stop and savor the power
of Mr. Burkeís prose on numerous occasions.
My wife, Tina Rich, knows that when I get the
galleys of a new James Lee Burke book that Iím going to read parts
of it out loud to her. Sheís given up trying to stop me.
PEGASUS DESCENDING is an important book and
deserves to be read. I am often asked who my favorite writer is. Up
until Andre Dubus died in 1999 the answer was an easy one. Since his
death the answer to that question has changed from time to time. The
answer now is James Lee Burke.
We should all feel lucky to be alive while he
is writing at the top of his literary power, and I hope PEGASUS
DESCENDING begins making it onto summer reading lists for students.
Letís educate young readers who are old enough to handle the
material in Mr. Burkeís novels to read his work.
We lose a lot of young readers by making them
read books they have no interest in. Some of the scenes in PEGASUS DESCENDING
are disturbing, thereís no arguing that. I turned on the news
after re-reading the novel and what I saw on television disturbed me
much more than any of the scenes in PEGASUS DESCENDING.
Read Burke's outstanding Katrina short story
Out to Sea" in Esquire.