Re: RARA-AVIS: The meaning of hardboiled

Date: 12 Jul 2000

Hi Kip,
    No anti-Carver at this stop, though I admit to reading him always in small doses. Anti-Carver sentiments have been on parade through writing programs and college English Departments for a decade, and the reaction against Carver and minimalism has blessed all with the effusive, overblown, pretentious dreck flowing from so many University literary journals these days.
    At times Carver was solid hard-boiled though I doubt he saw it as a goal.
 His voice like that of John Gregory Dunne, Nelson Algren, Scott Smith, Jim Harrison, Joyce Carol Oates, and others not usually classified as hard-boiled reveal patches of the world where, toughness rules but people "stand up" anyway, where hopes are leavened by despair, and experience smashes holes through optimism. As Kevin or someone else said here recently, it's the center of the writing that makes its hard-boiled, not the presence of a detective, the inclusion of cynical dialogue, or any of the other "hallmarks" of the genre.

                                        Jim Blue

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