Forgotten Classics: “It Happened in Boston?”

July 28, 2008 at 6:59 pm | Posted in Fiction, Forgotten Classics | 3 Comments

Monday is now Forgotten Classics day.  Some fascinating books just don’t make it onto your standard Top Ten lists, and here is one of them.


It Happened in Boston?, by Russell H. Greenan, was originally published in 1968.  Luckily, it was reprinted in 2003, so it shouldn’t be hard to find.  If you like books that can best be described as trippy, then you’ll want to find this one right away.  It’s the story of an artist whose grasp of reality is slipping, when he gets the bright idea to assassinate God.  Is he crazy, or is he really on to something?


Unreliable narrators have a certain fascination to me.  I mean, aren’t we all unreliable narrators in our own lives, to at least some extent?  I sometimes wonder whether a reader would find the fictional me as blind and foolish as I often find fictional characters.  Would I be sympathetic or just pitiful?  But I digress.


Greenan’s erudite story involves a bit of art history, a bit of metaphysics, and a bit of bloodshed.  There are some really shocking scenes, beginning with the protagonist – get this – punching a cat in the face.  But there are also some lighthearted and funny scenes with a cute little boy, and some glints of word play.


Even the afterword is interesting.  Greenan relates that he and his wife scrimped and saved for four years, until they had $10,000, which they used to move themselves and their three kids to Europe for a year so he could write his first novel.  He did it, and went on to publish another dozen books.  (Imagine a family of five living in Europe for a year on ten grand… Sigh…)  Now that I’ve read the book, I wish he’d write a how-to as well!



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  1. I’ve never heard of this book. I love it when someone reviews a book that’s a forgotten classic. Or just forgotten. Thank you…you have made my day! Cheers!

  2. Forgotten Classics is a great idea! I just might join you in this endeavor — if I can think of any books that would qualify. 🙂

    Interesting what you said about unreliable narrators. I have mixed feelings about them, myself. I like omniscient 3rd persons best, because I want to know everything (so to speak).

  3. That’s a good idea, too. If anyone can think of any forgotten classics that I might not know about, I’d love to hear about them!

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