Welcome to the Mookse and the Gripes Podcast. Trevor here with a special bonus episode, stepping away from NYRB Classics for a bit to look at some other things of interest.
In this episode, I will be having a conversation with Gregg Sutter. The occasion? Well, today, August 28, marks the publication of the Library of America’s newest edition: Elmore Leonard: Four Novels of the 1970s, which was edited by Gregg. But Gregg isn’t your typical editor. He isn’t an Elmore Leonard scholar—no, he knows a lot more about Elmore Leonard than any scholar ever will. In 1981, Leonard hired Gregg to be his full-time researcher, a job Gregg held until Leonard’s death just over a year ago, on August 20, 2013, a job that you can read a bit about in a New Yorker piece from the September 30, 1996 issue, the abstract of which you can find here. Gregg will also tell you more about this in a minute, as well as share what other Elmore Leonard projects he’s currently working on.
It was great to talk with him. I have to admit that, though I’ve considered myself an Elmore Leonard fan for years, it’s because of the movies adapted from his work, going back to 1957’s 3:10 to Yuma, one of my favorite westerns, through an amazing run in the 1990s with Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, and Out of Sight. This volume, which features four novels from the 1970s — Fifty-Two Pickup, Swag, Unknown Man No. 89, and The Switch (which, incidentally, has just been adapted into a movie called Life of Crime, coming out tomorrow) — is my first experience with Leonard’s actual novels, and it’s been fantastic! We’ll talk a bit about why with Gregg Sutter.
Before that, though, I want to highly recommend that you go pick up this volume.
And now, on with the show.