Re: RARA-AVIS: Loren Estleman

Mark Sullivan (
Thu, 9 Dec 1999 15:54:08 -0500 (EST)

I've got to agree with Neil, here. I, too, want a genre that evolves, keeps up with the times. The hardboiled attitude or outlook is measured against the mainstream culture of its time. As that culture changes, the hardboiled attitude must also change or become, in Neil's apt description, a nostalgia trip. At that point, it becomes a conservative polemic, a call for a return to the time when this particular brand of hardboiled attitude fit.

Now reading the classics, there is a tie between the culture at large and the hardboiled reaction. I'm not old enough to have read Chandler, Hammett, Goodis, etc., during their time, but have enjoyed them all.

And there is a place for nostalgia. As I said earlier, I like a lot of the Walkers and they're all nostalgic in this way. Speaking of nostalgia, in Never Street, Walker mentions being 42. This was first published in 1997, making Walker the same age I am. Now I appreciate Sarah Vaughan and Nat King Cole, but they are not "my music," but it tends to be depicted as Walker's without comment in this novel. This is another screen of nostalgia draped over the book's nostalgic core.

Sure, nostalgia can be fun, but I have come to prefer something new -- the Fresh Blood crew, Jack O'Connell, Joe Lansdale, Ken Bruen, etc.


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