RARA-AVIS: I'm how old

From: Juri Nummelin ( jurnum@utu.fi)
Date: 17 Jan 2000

I wanted to make my own impact on this "how old" conversation, even when it's clearly overdue.

I was born in 1972 in a leftist family. As a teenager everyone considered me strange and to add more strangeness to my identity I started to read William Burroughs and stuff which I really didn't understand. I was more at home with Agatha Christie (now I find her really tiresome) and Rex Stout. And then I read Kari Levola's youngster novel "Roof Hawk", in which the main character admired Marlowe and Archer. I dug these up in the library and found out that my father was a very avid fan of hardboiled writing, since in it the American society got what it deserved: harsh criticism. I read all the Chandlers and almost all the Macdonalds ("Zebra-Striped Hearse" is one of the best hb novels I've ever read) and all the Hammetts. Luckily they were translated.

And after that I dropped the whole issue to dig Chandler and fellows up from time to time. I read Kaminsky and Andrew Bergman, but got tired of the pastiche-like quality of them. I got blown away reading Jim Thompson's "Getaway" - it was translated when the Peckinpah film was a hit - but haven't since been so deeply touched by Thompson. It seemed that there were only Chandler, Hammett and Macdonald (and James Cain with two novels), and no one else. (This is a sentiment that still overcomes me at times - I just can't stand James Lee Burke and John Wessel.)

Then came James Ellroy and my enthusiasm for the genre woke. After reading
"American Tabloid" in English (it's translated now and it felt much better), I wanted to understand the evolution of the genre, since Ellroy seemes to try to explain everything in the US society with the pulp and hardboiled ideology of willing dames, fast cars and powerful guns and greed, lust and revenge. I started to read Woolrich (pretty tiresome at times), Richard Stark, Day Keene, W.T. Ballard, Frederick Nebel and stuff and so I got around doing my critical bibliography of American pulp/hb translated in Finnish paperbacks. And I've found great writers - Wade Miller (I just finished "Dead, She Was Beautiful"), Gil Brewer, Stark and so on. And thanks to this list I've found some new authors - there seems to be no end. Mike Barry and Alan Caillou have been published here... My list of authors seems only to be extending.

Juri jurnum@utu.fi

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