RARA-AVIS: rene and mushy hardboiled

From: Michael Robison ( zspider@gte.net)
Date: 02 Feb 2002

hi everybody,

first a disclaimer... this is not well-thought out. i'm just sorta thinking here.

rene recently mentioned that hardboiled in the states typically has a liberal dose of romance and maybe even sentimentality. i've been thinking about that recently and i think i agree. this is not relatively speaking, since i have read little hardboiled, and none from authors elsewhere.

and although this is tough for a hardboiled fan to admit, i think the romantic element often plays an important part in my enjoying the book. it seems to add a balance of humanity to a bleak, cruel, and inhumane world. i've seen it used in jd macdonald, robert parker, james lee burke, vachss, and just about every other hardboiled i've read.

getting to the point: there's been a couple well-established classics which i just didn't like: thompson's _killer inside me_, and hammett's
_red harvest_. and the question i've been rolling over is if i like most hardboiled, why didn't i like these two highly regarded novels, and i'm wondering if maybe its because they were missing this element. even as i say this i see myself on shaky ground... there was romance in _killer inside me_. but it wasn't a good kind of romance. it was overshadowed by murderous insanity.

and speaking of hardboiled and love relationships, i watched turner and garfield in "the postman always rings twice" last night. it was good. was that love? man... it was complicated, whatever it was. i gotta read the book.


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