A fantastic writer, who caught me with the same force and power as John Le Carre and Eric van Lustbader. I am also a greta fan of Alan Moore and Pychon.As a brazilian fan, I am interested in some books and interviews and maybe someone over there could help me (Jose Carlos - email@example.com)
>>By Executor (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 13:01)
need help with a twenty-mile summary please!
>>By NEEDS ALOTA HELP (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 13:01)
Wow. I read several books per a week and I happily stumbled on Shibumi at a thrift shop. The back of the jacket did not do it justice. I was enthralled much the way I was when I found "The 8." My husband recalled the movie they made of Eiger Sanction. I have read that this author is brilliant and arrogant, and I agree he seems kinda Darwinian. But he sure makes you think. Reading Shibumi after Iran Contra, the Gulf War, and of course 9/11 is alarming. I do wish the author were more public and more prolific. I'll certainly be reading the rest of his books soon, and passing them along to my friends.
>>By new fan (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 13:01)
Tell Trevanian he "pisses" me off. He killed my favorite charachter and "by the four balls of Jesus, Mary and Joseph" he had better not do that again.
>>By jan howard (Sunday, 2 Feb 2003 04:56)
I am a voracios reader.I also stumbled upon shibumi in a thrift shop and was emmediately entraced(or entrenched)in his novels.I've read all of his stuff and i cant seem to get enough!since,however,his works are so limited,I've been forced to read them over and over and over again.I've passed along his novels to a few friends but prefer to keep them a private pleasure.As I am sure trevanian is a pseudonym,I am very curious as to his true identity so i can read anything else he has written.so if anybody out there knows...
>>By oliver wilson (Wednesday, 19 Feb 2003 09:43)
I stumbled upon Shibumi when I was going around my aunts old book collections and it blew me away, now I find myself looking for his other works. now I have only one question , Who is he or she the only clue I have is that he wrote a book that dipicted a very detailed art theft that was copied by an actual thief and stole the real art work , if any one knows what this novel is please post i and if it is so that book predates Shibumi that might give the authors real name other works
>>By isagani Musni (Sunday, 23 Mar 2003 03:44)
I've been reading Trevanian's work on and off since 1977, when I first discovered THE EIGER SANCTION on a visit to Switzerland. To those in this forum for whom Trevanian is a relatively new discovery, I offer these thoughts.
1. WHO IS HE ... REALLY?
In the wake of the release of INCIDENT AT TWENTY MILE, there's been much speculation about Trevanian's true identity. Some have claimed he's Rod Whittaker, a film professor from the University of Texas. Others are sure he's a retired CIA operative living in exile in the remote Basque mountains of France. Still others have worked frantically to piece together certain recurring autobiographical "tidbits" from his novels in the hope that these might allow a fuller portrait to emerge.
I've lately come to the (humble) opinion that Trevanian's "real" identity doesn't actually matter. You don't have to know who someone is in order to appreciate his/her writing. This is especially true of Trevanian: he's a writer's writer.
2 OTHER PSEUDONYMS?
Apparently, Trevanian has released books under at least one other pseudonym I know of: that of Nicholas Seare. The one I've read (RUDE TALES AND GLORIOUS) is a hilarious send-up of the Arthurian story cycle. (One story, "Sir Gervais and the Enchanted Forest" appears in HOT NIGHT--more or less an admission that Trevanian and Nick Seare are one in the same.)
RUDE TAILS is available on Amazon.com, and I'd highly recommend it. It's more of a comic novel than (say) SHIBUMI, but if you appreciate the flecks of humor that sparkle in Trevanian's more dramatic works, you'll love RUDE TALES.
The other Seare book is entitled 1339 ... OR SO. I haven't read it. It's out of print and it costs a mint--the lowest used price I've found so far is $90. Fortunately, I'm perverse enough to lavish that kind of money on a beloved author's work. When I finally do purcase it, I'll log on and let you know if it's worth the price of the ticket.
III. FUTURE WORKS?
Trevanian did an online interview when TWENTY MILE came out, claiming he's working on a four book cycle that takes place in 19th century France. (I seem to recall a working title: STREET OF FOUR WINDS ... or something like that.) He didn't mention a release date. But it's nice knowing it's out there, somewhere, rising in the oven.
IV. PARTING SHOT
In the three decades since discovering Trevanian's work, I've been through many changes. But a love of this gentleman's work has remained with me. Nowadays, I'm a writer working on my fourth book. And as I've pulled myself through the drudgery of final edits and reviewing galleys while summoning energy for the next foray, I've found myself rediscovering and rereading Trevanian's works. To say they're great fodder for inspiration is an understatement.
I'm three quarters of the way through SHIBUMI (--my first reading in many years--) and I'm even more impressed than I was when I first read it in 1979. It ages well--and is surprisingly prescient, given recent events.
I wish you all ... happy reading.
>>By Joe Mason (Wednesday, 26 Mar 2003 01:34)
the book is the loo sanction.it's the sequel to the eiger sanction.both pretty good books.(the eiger sanction was a good movie,also) (Wednesday, 26 Mar 2003 07:59)
I too must agree that knowing the writer's identity has no bearing on my enjoyment of his novels, yet part of me would really like to know a little more about the mind that writes novels that are so compelling. I just received "Mamigon" written by jack hashain (another suspected pen name) but am waiting to finish my latest re-read of shibumi before i start it.
>>By echo (Tuesday, 8 Apr 2003 22:44)
Hey "new fan" I've NEVER met another person in the USA that has read "the 8". I discovered both "Shibumi" and "The 8" while vacationing (for 8 months) in Spain. Are you From the US??? Where did you find "The *"??? For all of you who enjoy Trevanian, read"The 8".
>>By flying over the cookos nest right now (Friday, 11 Apr 2003 20:22)
Kath Neville's novel "The Eight" was entertaining but by no means at par with Trevanian. She manages to spin some coincidences concerning the number "8" into a fairly amusing bit of yarn. Thorough examination makes her observations nothing more than fictional rubrics, however. The periodic table is merely a method of categorisation. Musical notes in it's entirety amount to 12 not 8 (counting flats/sharps). The DNA helix is an "8," but from what standpoint? All a bit shoddy at the end of the day. Fun reading no doubt. But certainly not Trevanian from an imaginative, artistic, philosphical, or literary standpoint.
>>By JJ (Thursday, 1 May 2003 14:25)
all i can say is "WOW TREVANIAN" . i cried and i laughed when i read Shibumi since then i grab anything Trevanian including the Main. every time i finish reading a Trevanian i say wow i hope Trevanian is my neighbor, i feel close to him. hey Trevanian I'm sure going to kiss your shoes when I'm given the chance to meet you. my soul is yours...I will hunt you
>>By BJORN (Monday, 5 May 2003 09:30)
any pictures of Trevanian....may i see....may i see the image of the god of Pen Trevanian ? pls a thousand times
>>By bjorn (Monday, 5 May 2003 09:41)
It is interesting to compare Trevanian's thrillers.
Shibumi should be looked at as the perfection of ideas and dialog found in Trevanian's two earlier books, the Eiger Sanction and The Loo Sanction.
Trevanian's first three books (Eiger Sanction, Loo Sanction, Shibumi) use similar, characters, events, and even dialog to advance his story line. Sometimes the phrases are identical, from book to book.
The first two books are fine. But they lack elegance and depth. Shibumi, on the other hand, does not.
>>By BY RC (Wednesday, 7 May 2003 02:58)
Shibumi is perfection, flawless. It shows a pureness and dignity to the way Nicoli lives his life that is missing but very much needed in today's world. It has tongue- in -cheek humor and characters that are irresistible, It has an undying loyalty to father figures, friends and lovers and it shows the real horrors that can happen when governments and terrorists get too powerful (very scary and very pertinent for today) It show how materialism shouldn't be confused with happiness all with a touch of James Bond like chrisma and wit. I've worn out many many copies. Can't get enough of it.
>>By Cheryl (Wednesday, 7 May 2003 06:19)
For unabashedly elegant writing, The Summer of Katya was Trevanian's finest...and along with The Main, Trevanian's most emotionally-shattering work. Superlative stuff...the lot of them.
>>By JMM (Wednesday, 7 May 2003 14:32)
He knows what he's writing... its from experience. Can you imagine killing someone using a piece of paper.... Trevanian you are dangerous.
>>By Hel (Monday, 12 May 2003 09:34)
Finished "Mamigon" and if anyone thinks Hashian is Trevanian they are mistaken as far as I am concerned (still Mamigon is a decent read). I also have a copy of Shanidar, another Hashian novel and the rear cover has a picture of the author with his coat collar covering all but his eyes (perhaps a shot at propagating the loosely held belief by some that he and Trevanian are one in the same). There are some superficial similarities between the two writers but the last line in Mamigon (no I won't write it here) seems a little too trite for the likes of Trevanian. Gotta go there is a copy of "Tales: Rude and Glorious" waiting for me to devour in my mailbox.
>>By echo (Monday, 12 May 2003 23:19)
In 1987, I was attending the American Bookseller's Convention in Washington, DC, promoting my first book (which is now thankfully out of print). My "agent" at the time had worked at the Post during the tumultuous period of 1965 - 1969 (--through Woodstock and Abbie Hoffman's [or was it Jerry Rubin's?] risible attempt to levitate the Pentagon). We were having dinner at a steak house near Capitol Hill when I mentioned my appreciation for Trevanian and his work.
"Trevanian," he told me, "is dead."
"What?" I asked, instantly upset.
"Read my lips!" he sputtered, leaning toward me across his steak tartar. "Trevanian is dead. His estate sold the name to another author--like the Bond franchise? His last two books were written by somebody else."
I remember being respectfully impressed by this information. After all, Keith _had_ worked at the Washington Post, hadn't he ..?
Years passed. My first two books went out of print. I finally learned how to write. I published a few more things. And I kept right on reading Trevanian.
I recognize now that my "agent" was wrong (about Trevanian and many other things). Having just finished INCIDENT AT TWENTY MILE for a second time, I recognize that the same impish wit that used to delight in page-long digressions has now compressed itself to half-paragraph (and, occasionally, footnote-length) musings.
The man's still out there, producing ... and getting better with each passing book.
(And while awaiting his next, I must admit to enjoying this on-line group of fellow admirers. Your comments are thought-provoking and insightful.)
>>By Joe Mason (Tuesday, 13 May 2003 02:43)
Good for you Echo!
Rude Tales and Glorious is courageously irreverent and supremely hilarious. Never has a scatological feat been so articulately related.
And Whitaker's words (by way of Nicholas Seare) that prefaces the novel evidences that sweet melancholy that Trevanian is just so ludicrously good in expressing. (I relished the manner in which he mused heart-breakingly about a departed son's childhood describing the young lad of many unanswerable questions as "sometimes a nuisance...always a delight."
>>By JJ (Tuesday, 13 May 2003 05:30)
For the curious, Trevanian's (Rod Whitaker) photo may be found on this website:
That said, the chap who runs the website has absolutely horrid writing skills.
>>By Sue Doe Nim (Tuesday, 13 May 2003 11:28)
We shouldn't take the Eiger and Loo Sanction's too seriously. They are devilish spoofs on Ludlum and LeCarre and most obviously Flemming to say the least. The true genius of Trevanian is his ability to scold us as readers for swallowing their stories, while still producing a completley readable book. Evidence the name given to Hemlocks conquest Jemimah Brown. A completely P.I. name to give a character in this day and age, which in and of itself dates the works a little, but if that isn't a shot at Pussy Galore, Tiffany Case or Plenty O'Toole then I don't know what a joke is.
Shibumi is a masterstroke written by a craftsman (craftsperson? one shouldn't assume now) after sharpening his tools with the earlier works.
The Main is one of the most stellar character studies ever put to paper.
Incident, was in my humble opinion, another spoof. Even the silly prolouge declaring his research and the futures of the characters could catch some of us off guard, simply brilliant.
In no way do I consider myself an expert in literature but I dare say that Trevanian is on par with Dickens.
>>By echo (Tuesday, 13 May 2003 22:30)
Just wanted to "confirm suspicions:" (Blimey, guess who used that phrase before?)
Joe Mason's observation of Trevanian's literary transition from "page-long digressions...to half-paragraph musings" sounds alarmingly like Trevanian's description of Ms. Plimsoll's editing work on Supposed-Hemingway's scribblings (The Sacking of Miss Plimsoll from Hot Night in the City).
It's difficult not to be influenced by Trevanian's characters: from Hemlock's cockiness to Hel's charisma. I spent my high school years playing it like a self-assured Paul Treville (The Summer of Katya). And I still look back at that bit of role-playing with blushed laughter and a hint of embarrassment -- albeit endearingly so.
>>By JJ (Wednesday, 14 May 2003 03:31)
Too true JJ. I often find myself reflecting on something I have done and wondered if Nikko would approve. It is the silliest thing to consider but Trevanians characters are so much more alive than most of the people I, and probably most of us, come in contact with every day.
There is of course a certain degree of conceit (perhaps that is not the right word) I find with real fans of Trevanian (myself included) because of the way we connect with Hel, Hemlock, Treville and of course Le Cagot.
>>By echo (Wednesday, 14 May 2003 14:13)
PS to above
For the completist here are a few of things to look for:
Playboy Dec 78 a short story titled "Switching" written by Trevanian.
Harpers 1979 short story "Minutes of a village meeting" written by Le Cagot.
Redbook March 1984 "The secrets of Miss Plimsoll, Private Seceratary"
And for someone who has WAY TOO much time on their hand "Autumn out of Ashes" The Yale Literary review (good luck on that one)
>>By echo (Wednesday, 14 May 2003 14:24)
Sometimes I think abaut Nikko.When something goes wrong, when I loose control, I ask to myself "what Nikko would do if he was here" Then I feel calm again.Trevanian helped me to see and understand my own-inside world.I began listening to my soul not the outer world.Words are not enough to tell I hope you all understood.Thank you Trevanian.
>>By lilith (Wednesday, 14 May 2003 15:39)
i tried surfing the net looking for rod whitaker and yap i found him... the rod whitaker i found is a researcher working in meteor detection project somewhere in los alamos. a picture of him is also posted... i dont know if that guy is Trevanian.
>>By bjorn (Thursday, 15 May 2003 11:38)
Nope not him, Rod Whitaker aka Trevanian was a film prof at university of Texas (to the best of my knowledge). He actually published a book under Whitaker titled The Language of Film.
>>By echo (Thursday, 15 May 2003 14:26)
I enjoyed Hel, Hemlock, LeCagot, and the lot of Trevanian's cast. They intrigued me. I admired them. Still do. As a younger man, I went so far as to emulate ("parrot" would be more accurate) them. But I just haven't the fiscal resources or the colourful life experiences to assuredly claim connection with them. Still, they have been sinfully pleasureable companions for many years now.
Trevanian's characters, in general, have served me well. It's very easy to want to aspire to be them. In hindsight, however, I can see that they can be dangerous for the impressionable youth. I realise how my imitating Hemlock, Hel, or Paul Treville could have hurt me. No one likes a smart-aleck (one with plucked ideas at that). Most particularly when he has neither experience nor accomplishment to recommend him.
Shibumi is the most popular, and perhaps the most influential, of Trevanian's books. Amongst his works, it was my favourite as a young lad (no surprise really, as it contained enough testosterone to psychokinetically impregnate every woman with child-bearing potential from here to Alpha Centauri) It's probably the easiest to read as Trevanian was at his least discreet. In this novel, he was -- as he would put it -- about as subtle as a fart in a bathysphere. I greatly enjoy the book to this day.
Growing older, I must admit that it was on occassions when Trevanian was artfully subtle that I found him at his most precious. It was the minor touches that impressed me. The impossibly concise verb, for instance. I liked the way he described "lances of sunlight 'lacerating' through partially-closed blinds " (I think that's from the Eiger Sanction).
I liked his literary nuptial of adjectives to nouns -- I think it was in The Summer of Katya where he talked about mistaking bad for good...of mistaking callous insensitivity for admirable frankness.
I liked the tender manner in which Katya described the Future as "a heap of Tomorrows waiting for their turn to be today." That the story unfolded during an "indolent" summer. That Trevanian demarcated each side of the turn-of-the-century: "The Age of Grace vs. The Era of Efficiency."
In The Main, the banter and discourse over a pinochle game was memorable, funny, and sad. As were those with the half-blind forensic expert. I relished the rich and painfully melancholy characters that were LaPointe and Moishe.
In an interview, Whitaker mentioned something to the extent that he delighted in the watchmaker's skill of honing a product into detailed perfection. Shibumi may be the most famous in his oeuvre, but The Main and The Summer of Katya were Trevanian at his most refined.
>>By JJ (Thursday, 15 May 2003 15:06)
how old is Trevanian by the way?
when i finished reading The Main i felt something I cannot explain it felt so sad as if I myself was LaPointe...I said to my self " I dont want to grow old alone without a family like LaPointe" i feel sorry for him. Everytime I visit a book store and come across The Main I'm reminded of how sad the life of LaPointe and wished he's just in our neigborhood so that I can comfort him. Trevanian made me part of the story...thats why he is great.
>>By bjorn (Friday, 16 May 2003 08:39)
The discussion board is currently closed.