Scott Turow, that Chicago lawyer who has written nine superlative legal thrillers, was first an academic.
He studied creative writing at Stanford University. He and his fellow students were expected to come away writing literary novels.
“In the late 1960s and early 1970s,” Turow said in a recent essay for the NPR news program All Things Considered, “most English departments exalted modernism, modernism whose innovations and defiance of literary convention were thought to advance culture, but that meant by definition those books were not intended for a broad popular audience.”
Turow wanted to be read by more than several handfuls of people. Graham Greene’s 1940 novel The Power and The Glory
provided the direction. It was a popular thriller, a story of suspense, and – most important to Turow – a novel of ideas.
Turow followed Greene’s pattern with that book. He wrote, not literary novels that few would read, but novels of ideas that used the thriller format to assure that they would be read by millions.Tomorrow: To be seen on television