Sunday, August 20, 2017

Great quotes from Dick Francis

Second Wind is decidedly a thriller, related, of course, to the world of horse racing. As well as action, Francis does great characterization and tidbits of social commentary.

Alluding to the dominance of commercialism, he comments on the meteorologist "trying to complete the weather bulletin as quickly as possible, so as to get back to the commercials, always...more important than the formation of gale-force winds."

In a different vein, the protagonist speaks of the power of intuition, which sends impulses that seem "to come from nowhere." These, he decides, are "not really impulses at all," but "decisions made but waiting for the opportunity to be spoken aloud." No doubt such hunches are important to those buying, training and betting on racehorses.

Even Money, a collaboration with his son Felix, touches on the phenomenon of linguistic change as it connects to our human efforts to reduce past pain and suffering by creating new words for them, while making other terms "archaic and taboo."

'We must be mad,' shouted Larry Porter, again our neighbouring bookie.

'Bonkers,' I agreed.

I thought it was funny how we use certain words. Here were Larry and I, in full control of our mental capacity, using terms like 'mad' and 'bonkers' to describe each other, while the likes of Sophie, and worse, institutionalized in mental health facilities, were never, any longer, referred to in such terms, even in private.'

Such human vagaries are well-noted by the late ex-jockey-turned author, Dick Francis, and his talented son Francis. For this reader, such passages are icing on the thriller cake.

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