RARA-AVIS: Another intro

Michael Chong (mchong@ytv.com)
Fri, 27 Aug 1999 14:28:09 -0400


I just read Juri's letter and actually read the rara-avis confirmation letter. So if there must be an intro, here it is.

My name is Michael S. Chong and I reside in Toronto, the same city as the proprietor of this fine list. I'm in my late twenties and work in television. I've been reading the website archives for years, but didn't want to join. I'm not a real joiner. After awhile, when every search engine query of mine popped up rara-avis, I knew I had to join. I believe the first HB novel I ever read was Blue Belle by Vacchs. It was given to me by a friend. It was interesting. That didn't start the ball rolling...

I spent a significant amount of time in Europe, Holland to be exact, and was starving for any reading material. I started haunting the used bookstores and came across three books that really got me. Hammett's Red Harvest (HB Year One), Graham Greene's The Power and The Glory (Utter noir) and Ellroy's Black Dahlia (Sex, Mom and Horror). Since then, there's been no looking back. (Has Greene's work been debated as being HB/noir? To me, The Power and the Glory, A Gun for Sale, and Brighton Rock are hardcore HB/noir and tough to match.)

I love crime fiction more than mysteries. I like the sordid bottom-feeders and trapped men doing bad things either because they have to or because they love it, not PI's, except the Op of course. I've read almost all of Jim Thompson, James Ellroy, Andrew Vacchs and Elmore Leonard. Other authors sampled and enjoyed are Frederic Brown, Cornell Woolrich, Edward Bunker, Charles Williford, Chester Himes, David Goodis, Paul Cain, James M. Cain, Steve Fisher, Iceberg Slim and Joseph Wambaugh. Film noir and HB comics are cool too (Personal faves in each medium: Out of the Past/Touch of Evil and Sin City/Stray Bullets), but there's something about the rhythm and stark imagery stuck into your mind solely through the written word. This genre says so much (dare I use the word existentially) to the alienated and outraged.

Dreaming until I die...

Michael Michael S. Chong Writer/Researcher gAmerZ 64 Jefferson Avenue, Unit 18 Toronto, ON M6K 3H3 416-534-1191 phone 416-533-0346 fax

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