Charles Willeford’s books are usually found in the crime sections of bookshops; this has been one of his problems in obtaining recognition. He’s impossible to classify. Too weird and elegant for most crime fans, he’s been ignored by the high priests of lit because he’s seen as a genre author. The Burnt Orange Heresy was published in 1971. The narrator is James Figueras, a shamelessly ambitious art critic, based in Florida’s Gold Coast, who sets out to make his reputation by interviewing ‘the world’s greatest painter’ Jacques Debierue (a mixture of Marcel Duchamp and Braque) who lives nearby as a recluse. One of the best novels written about the art world and only Willeford would start what was meant to be marketed as a crime novel with an epigraph from Gorgias: ‘Nothing exists’.
Posted on 18th October 2010
Fiction Uncovered by… Tibor Fischer, novelist
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