Friday, February 3, 2017

Literary Marquette

The Lumberjack Tavern in Big Bay, Michigan, just a short drive from my apartment in Marquette

Discovered the book "Anatomy of a Murder" by Robert Traver (pen name of Ishpeming native and Michigan Supreme Court Justice John D. Voelker), which is based on an actual murder that took place at the above bar in 1951. The opening page reminds me of Hemingway's beautiful writing on Northern Michigan:

"The mine whistles were tooting midnight as I drove down Main Street Hill. It was a warm moonlit Sunday night in mid-August and I was arriving home from a long weekend trout fishing in the Oxbow Lake District with my old hermit friend Danny McGinnis, who lives there all year round. I swung over on Hematite Street to look at my mother's house -- the same gaunt white frame house on the corner where I was born. As my car turned the corner the headlights swept the rows of tall drooping elms planted by my father when he was a young man -- much younger than I -- and gleamed bluely on the darkened windows...

I swung around downtown and slowed down to miss a solitary drunk emerging blindly from the Tripoli bar and out upon the street, in a sort of gangling somnambulistic trot, pursued on his way by the hollow roar of a juke box from the garishly lit and empty bar. "Sunstroke," I murmured absently. "Simply a crazed victim of the midnight sun." As I parked my mud-spattered Coupe alongside the Miners' State Bank, across from my office over the dime store, I reflected that there were few more forlorn and lonely sounds in the world than the midnight wail of a juke box in a deserted small town, those raucous proclamations of joy and fun where, instead, there dwelt only fatigue and hangover and boredom. To me the wavering hoot of an owl sounds utterly gay by comparison."

- Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Murder

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