Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Never Street

a.n.smith (
Fri, 10 Dec 1999 18:09:27 -0600

The hardboiled and naturalist writers were reacting to something, and the prime suspects are modernism (as far as the style goes) and the lightweight mysteries--locked rooms and nuns and the Englisgh countryside. Now, we've had hardboiled writing since the twenties. It's good stuff. I love it. But it sounds old sometimes, and I guess I'm looking to new writers for a reaction to all the cliches and make me see something new again.

As for new fans, the old books are there, and we should eagerly point them out to these people. But in the case of the new Amos Walkers, etc., I just wish the same things wouldn't get photocopied over and over and presented as new work. "The Witchfinder" tries so hard to be old--the loner wise guy detective, the old, sickly client with the secrets, the running-around town busting past secretaries into suspects' offices.

And it's not just jaded HB fans. It's in the culture--see the hat? The slang? The damsel in distress rescued by the hard-shelled/heart-of-gold PI? People know it instantly. Shake it up some.

Neil Smith

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