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First published in Gentlemen's Quarterly June 2000.

A series of 10 illustrations by Mari Mitsumi from the Japanese publication of "Death of the Cool," Gentlemen's  Quarterly (Japan) December 2000.  From an e-mail received from Mari Mitsumi, 22 May 2001:  

"Hello, I'm Japanese illustrator, Mari Mitsumi living in Tokyo, illustrated in the Japanese publication of "Death of the Cool". One of my friend [showed] me your site today. I've never thought that my illustration site was linked to Mr. Boyle's site in U.S.A!  How wonderful !

"Th[ese] illustrations were carried in "GQ Japan" December 2000 issue magazine. You can check it here. (Beatles' cover issue). Moreover, it was translated by very famous translator in Japan, Minami Aoyama (same as his book "Bloodfall and other stories " published in Japan).

"When I took this work, I liked this story very much, but it was an urgent case and I did not know even Mr. Boyle's face in fact!  so I wish he liked my illustrations....!

"Anyway I'm happy to see your site !  Thank you very much !"

TCB quote--From an interview with Daniel Durchholz in the St. Louis Riverfront Times Online:

"I do have some perceptions about your 50s, though.  And they're not good.  Your 50s are exactly like your teenage years in that your body and mind are going through enormous changes, but only for the worse.  Unlike your teenage years, where they're getting better."

Posted by sorehand on June 03, 2000:

...I can just see the short film now:  We can cast local Jeff Bridges as the Dude-like Edison Banks! HAHA.

The story was quite amusing. I laughed out-loud a couple of times. I scanned it over again because I thought the scene with the maid was odd. I wondered, why did you put that in there? It was funny, yet absurd. Then I realized that the elephant was Edison. Ah-ha...


Posted by TCB on June 04, 2000:

Dear Sorehand/Mic: Amazing this forum, isn't it? I haven't even seen the mag yet and you've already done a (very astute) critical reading. Many thanks for the comments.  TCB.
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Posted by shell on June 03, 2000:

I seem to be able to understand some, but not all of "Death of the Cool" (which most likely matters not a whit). 

Maybe this sounds like another "Hey-paint-another- 'Starry Night'-again-man" message. For me the story evokes a (vicodanic) view of what was once known as the Brown Pelican from the bluffs of the Wilcox Property and it's no stretch to feature the antagonists that used to block State Street with their skateboards, because of course State Street was theirs by virtue of their utter adolescent indifference, all the way up to the Arlington. A human oil spill of alienated youth befouling the idle afternoon for Ed, who could have been the creator of Alf, or might have been named Chris Cross.

The bar could be in a Victorian hotel on De La Vina, except that when the afternoon sun falls to where Ed wants it to be, the other side of the village avenue is aglow and De La Vina runs east and west. But maybe that's immaterial to the story. Then again it's those little sparks ('No thanks, I had one for breakfast' or O is for one-armed mystery writer?) that, at least for me, give the story a pulse, and provoke curiosity.

I see a definite vapor trail from the marvelous antics of "World's End"--the Byronic protagonist with the incandescent pain from arthroscopic surgery in addition perhaps to a sprained psyche ('Why work when you can play?') Then we have Drew ('the big Fan') Hansen, jazz aficionado and newly minted real estate agent who has an eerily unsettling effect on Saki or Sukie; I guess calling her Jade would be pretty trite.

I was tattooed long ago by Henry James' 'Beast in the Jungle', and maybe this is where I'm too obtuse to see what you intend to be a point so plain and simple that it jumps up and knocks over the average reader. The stick in the chest is the sine qua non of the story, no? But for me it's this bonhomie between Ed and Drew at the bar that represents a sort of preparation for the real surgery. Yet when you put the final suture in the story I just can't figure out who the real varmint is. The story depends on the narrator. The ugly kid that throws the stick could, as alternative narrator, conceivably engender no less simpatico. 

This argument flags in the face of the obvious notion that Drew seems pretty irredeemable, and the story kind of depends on Depends too; graceful aging eludes Ed at least until--ah maybe I see it afterall--happiness is a warm--yes it is?

Oh well, maybe this is another investigation we should assign to Sheriff Lobey Dosser

Posted by sandye on June 03, 2000:

In Reply to: Stultified by The Hunter in the Air Conditioned Forest posted by shell on June 03, 2000

: I seem to be able to understand some, but not all of 'Death of the Cool' (which most likely matters not a whit). 

dear shell,

i thought this was a sad, almost self-reflective piece. i didn't laugh once. and since interpreting the story ultimately comes down to the experiences we bring to it in reading, i sensed it was more a piece about finally coming to terms with getting old, while inside you still feel like that same wild guy you were in your 20s. the inner feelings no longer match the outer shell, even though it wears the same trappings...too melodramatic? maybe. but why don't the harassers on the beach recognize him as one of their tribe? to them, he's more like one of their parents--how uncool; or worse, a poser trying to be cool. there's more pain in the story than just that in his knee. it's also psychic (minor celebrity who's never recognized--except by the con man who targets him; failed love relationship; aenesthetizing his feelings with tylenol 3's and alcohol). somehow, by story's end i have no doubt of the
final outcome. but that's just my own interpretation...

Posted by sorehand on June 04, 2000:

In Reply to: death of the cool posted by sandye on June 03, 2000:

I found it hard not to laugh at the primary character. Yes, Edison Banks is sad, but he's painted so sadly by Boyle that it's actually funny and pathetic. I guess just saw the "Big Lebowski" humor in it. The melodrama of the Dude.


Posted by sandye on June 04, 2000:

In Reply to: Not one little giggle? posted by sorehand on June 04, 2000:

dear mic,

can't say there was a one, although i admit to a smile here and there over some of the details. 

there is a point we all finally reach in life where time goes by so quickly, it's almost like rainfall evaporating on a steamy summer afternoon. you finally realize that this is all there is: your youth is gone; your lover's rejected you; your health is wavering; your best career days are already behind you; your fame, if you had any, is ephemeral and the answer (if you're lucky) is to be found in Final Jeopardy . your only discernible "friends" (in Edison's case at least) seem to be those dependent on you in some way (the maid; the crook)...

on re-reading this, it sounds so bleak and i don't mean for it to be. it just may be a different reality for a different age group...


Posted by shell on June 04, 2000:

In Reply to: Re: Stultified posted by Chuckster on June 04, 2000 at 01:28:54:

Well, in the story there's the anger that ferments into a slice of time where one varmint has the drop on another, and I'm uncertain what becomes of the gun, what with snapping off the story like that. 

Posted by TCB on June 04, 2000:

To All: I have arrived in writers' heaven. To have such a meaningful (and almost instantaneous) discourse on a just-published work is staggering. I am blown away. My socks--well, they've been knocked off. You are rich and vibrant and perceptive readers and I thank you all so very much. TCB.

© Copyright 2001 Sandye Utley

Last Page Update: 24 May 2001