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Lead character Jim Cassidy is a former airline pilot who lost that job through no fault of his own.And now, he’s trying to hold himself together while leading a more modest kind of life as a commercial bus driver.
It’s known that when the author returned to his home city in 1950 after an ultimately unsuccessful stint as a paid Hollywood film writer, he haunted the seediest corners of the City of Brotherly Love.
The barflies, hookers, druggies, thieves, and down-on-their-luck street denizens who populate his best books are the kinds of people with whom Goodis was rubbing shoulders over the last years of his life. But before that, a few notes on his first handful of books—none of which are included in the honor roll.
Instead, I’ll focus on his writing and some of the movies that were made from his novels.
But a few notes on the man behind the books: The Philadelphia native was a master of noir fiction who lived what he wrote.
Cassidy’s got a couple problems, though, the biggest of which is his wife, Mildred. Cassidy is one of Goodis’s typical she-devils, with her wicked tongue, vicious temper, and voluptuous body that she knows how to use to ensnare and torment men.
Mildred is hardly a devoted wife to Cassidy, yet when he resolves to walk out on her and try to make a go of it with a more pure-natured (although hopelessly alcoholic) neighborhood woman, Mildred sharpens her talons.
His novels contain a string of hard-talking, ill-tempered, viciously cunning vixens who taunt the men in their lives sexually, demoralize them psychologically, and sometimes abuse them physically.
And here’s what’s interesting: while it was thought throughout Goodis’s life—and for decades after—that he’d never been wedded, it was ultimately discovered that he had a secret marriage that lasted from 1943-46.
Sadly missed by her loving husband and son, parents, brothers, sister, parents-in-law Edward and Anne, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, cousins, relatives, work colleagues in the Cork City Council and friends.