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Friday, 2 July 2010

Quiz Question (7) : Richard Condon

1) The late American author, Richard Condon (The Manchurian Candidate, Winter Kills, Prizzi's Honor etc.) had a different character in every one of his novels with the same name. although it was a different person. Usually that character would be a minor figure or part of the sub-plot but not necessarily. What was that person's name?

2) In the front of most Richard Condon novels there is a quotation or epigraph from The Keener's Manual, from which the title of the book was often taken. eg;
Minutes trudge,
       Hours run,
Years fly,
       Decades stun.
Spring seduces,
Summer thrills,
       Autumn sates,
Winter kills.
       (Winter Kills 1974)
What is The Keener's Manual?

The answers are now posted in the comments!


Alicia said...

Ooooh... I'm the first to reply!

#2: The Keener's Manual is a non-existent book that exists only as cited by Condon himself. It's a tricky literary device, that a few other authors have used well. (Richard Bach and William Goldman come immediately to mind.) Condon is, however, the only author I'm aware of who cites the same "book" in multiple books.

#1, answered second because I am less sure of the answer: I think the name you are looking for is Robert Keifetz, but the reference I found only says that he appears in a few of Condon's books, not all of them. Keifetz was a writer who dedicated a novel about baseball to Condon. Condon liked to insert real people into his books in quirky scenes or cameo appearances.

Thank you for this question, Bazza: The research I did for it dug up high praise for Condon's writing style, his themes, and his invention. I obviously need to beef up my bookshelves!

Mr. Stupid said...

I have never come across his books. I should give them a look. I am out of answers.

joanne fox said...

Oh I haven't got a clue!

bazza said...

Alicia: Q2 (The Keener's Manual) is quite right. Condon made the whole thing up and penned the 'quotes' himself. He used lots of people he knew in his novels; well, their names anyway. He once suggested that publishers compile a huge list of names that authors could safely use in their work; members of the public would be able to volunteer their names to be used in fiction.
The answer to Q1 is not Robert Keifetz so that answer is still needed! Thanks for the interesting answer to Q2.

Mr Stupid: The Manchurian Candidate is a great story but my favourite book by Condon is An Infinity of Mirrors.

Joanne: If you haven't read Condon, I recommend him not as great literature but as an enjoyable read. I put him in the same category as Thomas Pynchon.

The missing answer will appear here tomorrow one way or another!

bazza said...

Obviously this is far too hard for most of my visitors!
So Alicia wins by getting question 2 correct.
The answer to question one is 'Frank Heller'.