Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Small World

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 06 Jul 2000


<<Judging from the racks, Ellroy, Mosley, Pelecanos, Jerome Charwyn and Block are very, very popular. So surely someone out there besides Americans "gets" it. Unless thousands and thousands of people worldwide are in the habit of regularly buying books they don't understand.>>

I hear that Constantine and Gores also have a big following outside the US. In fact, I was surprised by a recent conversation I had with a French colleague who is not even a hardcore crime fiction fan. He has read Constantine and a lot of the contemporary writers discussed here.

I think a perspective that ignores literature from countries other than the US is myopic (to say the least). For example, I recently discovered Bino Realuyo, a sensational writer (and poet) from the Philippines. While no other country has had a Chandler or a Hammett or a James Crumley, the US has never had a Naipaul or a Narajan, or a Carpentier, or a Mahfouz, or a Calvino, and so on. There is a danger in treating hardboiled literature as an isolated genre; it's part of the much larger field of realistic literature, and overlaps and breeds with all sorts of other genres. Which is why the view from each country is necessarily different. If one day there is *one* worldwide perspective, culture will be dead. Everything will be a simulacrum. This is specifically in response to Paul's accusation of limpdickness (of British writers). They live and work in a different culture, and their language reflects this, but they can be as hardboiled as anyone.

This reminds me strongly of a polemic some time ago, where one side argued that only US musicians can play jazz idiomatically. I was on the other side.



__________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Send instant messages & get email alerts with Yahoo! Messenger.

# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 06 Jul 2000 EDT