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You must buy this book!
on 26 October 2006
Deadwood by David Milch is more than a book about a TV series. Very much in the vein of the show's writing, Milch's profane, matter-of-fact prose delivers up his thoughts on everything from incipient society to the futility of marriage. He's even candid about his own drug taking. For the would-be author, it's also a writing master-class. Learn which events and characters have historical depth and which are Milch's glorious creation. Incidentally, studded throughout the book there are also in depth character profiles from the main actors, in their own words, exploring their character's contradictions and motivations. And around the characters there are also symbols. Milch is big on symbols - the most important being Gold - its ability to orchestrate the camp of Deadwood from a puddle of mud - into it's most monstrous abstraction made flesh; George Hearst. Revealed also; the symbolism of Al Swearegen's peaches - in their own way, just as important as oranges in The Godfather films. And once that symbol has been established, the folly in its unsolicited modification.
Finally, one cannot talk about Deadwood without mentioning its colorful language. Milch's take on the profanity of the series is that it exists as a common method of disavowing the passivity of language - that its absence questions the strengths of the characters. Which, ironically, makes the reader wonder about Milch's own profanity in the context of the book. If it's a veiled, macho posture: what does it conceal? We can but guess. For those, like myself, who despair at the loss of the series in its third season - and eagerly anticipate the concluding telefilms - this book is a great way to keep the show alive, it even includes an episode guide. I can't recommend it highly enough.