The George V. Higgins Collection

Introduction | The Writer | Archive | Critical Responses | Publications | Retrospective Exhibition

Critical Response

"Higgins is almost uniquely blessed with a gift for voices, each of them   
. . . as distinctive as a fingerprint."  
                                                                            ~ The New Yorker

"What I can’t get over is that so good a first novel was written by the fuzz." 
            ~ Writer Norman Mailer on "The Friends of Eddie Coyle

" George V.  Higgins was an American original and a writer of lasting importance."                             
                                                ~ Scott Turrow, lawyer and novelist

"A writer of Balzacian appetite . . . the poet of Boston sleaze . . confident and totally convincing."  
                                                          ~ Mordecai Richler, novelist

"Completely original . . . technical virtuosity . . . an absolutely pitch perfect ear for the way real people, cops and criminals, really talk . . .earned a permanent place in our literary history." 
     ~George Garrett, poet and novelist, poet laureate of Virginia,
   and professor emeritus of creative writing at the University of 
   Virginia

"Aspiring writers of any genre, not just legal suspense, would be wise to read lots of George Higgins."   
                                               ~John Grisham, novelist and lawyer

"He was vitality itself.  He spoke as brilliantly and wittily as he wrote." 
                                              ~John Silber, president emeritus of Boston University. 

"He was an exceptional, perhaps the exceptional, postwar American political novelist." 

" George  V. Higgins' novels are usually found on the Crime shelves in bookstores.  Although no less talented an authority than Elmore Leonard once described The Friends of Eddie Coyle as ‘the greatest crime novel ever written,’ the category is misleading.  Higgins is a great ‘political’ novelist who anatomized one ‘polis’, Boston, over the last 30 years of the 20th century.  A Choice of Enemies and A Change of Gravity concern the private lives of public men and vice versa.  Both books are as witty and imaginative as recent work by Saul Bellow, John Updike and Philip Roth and in my view more originally structured.  Like Patricia Highsmith, he is an American more appreciated, perhaps, in Britain and Europe than in his own country.  I am delighted that the University of South Carolina has acquired his archive and that a major reassessment can now begin."  
                                  ~ Lord Gowrie, chairman of the Arts Council
                                                                              (United Kingdom)

"I am delighted by South Carolina’s acquisition of the George V.  Higgins Archive.  For nearly 20 years I had the honour of being George V.  Higgins’ British publisher and for nearly 30 years the pleasure of his friendship which entirely transcended the normal bounds of the author-publisher relationship.  George was, although often under-rated, a highly-significant American novelist and a prodigiously-gifted writer of journalism and more durable non-fiction.  A master of subtle, time-shifting narrative with an ear for dialogue and demotic speech rhythms which was almost uncanny, he made a lasting contribution to American letters."
                             ~ Tom Rosenthal, Higgins’s publisher and former chairman of
                               Secker and Warburg and Andre Deutsch Ltd.

 

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