RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V3 #244

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@colba.net)
Date: 11 May 2000

Mark B. wrote
> > I meant that American customs and laws are foreign to you. I realize you
>> have learnt a lot through your reading. and watching of American movies, but
>> you won't have the same background of someone born in the US or Canada. I
>> want to emphasize I'm not I am not saying France and Finland are the same.

And Juri wrote:
>OK, I got it all wrong. France is a bit exotic me, but then again so
>is America
>- - I've just learnt about it.

What? Didn't Columbus mention it?

>But do you imply that Albert's Stone Angel series
>doesn't work well for other than Americans or Canadians?

Relax, I don't think that's what Mark was saying at all. But any foreign country, or even a new city, or even, sometimes, a different part of town, can be exotic. I think it's part of the vicarious thrill of hard-boiled fiction-- to take us somewhere not necessarily nice, and let us figure a way home. After all, most of us don't go down very mean streets on a day to day basis, even Americans, and despite the occasional outburst of macho posturing, most of us are smart enough not to want to.

Oh, and one quibble. Americans and Canadians are not interchangeable. American customs and laws are pretty foreign and exotic to me, too, and I'm Canadian. The guns, elected judges, yahoo lawsuits, capital punishment, four million varieties of junk food I've never heard of, the political system, mattress sales to celebrate presidents' birthdays, no universal public health care, their definition of an Anglo--hell, they're all different.

Not necessarily better, or worse. Just different. But like the beer ad says, "My name is Joe, and I'm Canadian."

But I find hard-boiled books set outside the U.S. really intriguing, the way an originally very American idiom has been adapted and retooled to fit every country in the world. Sometimes it's an easy fit, and sometimes it requires major retooling, but overall, generally, whether the book is good or bad, the result is usually very interesting, and often fascinating.

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.colba.net/~kvnsmith/thrillingdetective/

An A&E Mystery.com Site of the Week, but don't let that discourage you.

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