Re: RARA-AVIS: Swimming, Angie and proofing

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 20 Apr 2002

Jim Blue wrote:

"In fact, the genre is loaded with people who have a past or a present full of mistakes and who are loaded with guilt or remorse, but, for me, the whole notion of hard-boiled precludes the possibility of a character living the life of a vic while we are reading about his or her exploits. Hard-boiled with self loathing or self destructing, yeah, but not hard-boiled while accepting abuse at the hands of others."

I couldn't disagree with you more, Jim. Sure, Angie's victimization is more extreme and more visible than most hardboiled heroes, but I don't think it's rare. Isn't this just the personal version of the PI who works in a corrupt world, kept down and abused by the system, trying to make the best of it?

And why in the world is self-victimization -- say Scudder's blackouts -- more hardboiled than being victimized by another? And how does Hoke Moseley's being beaten into the hospital and having his gun, badge and teeth stolen fit into this? Is he not hardboiled in Miami Blues?

And thanks Sally for defending Angie's psychology as an abused spouse. I've meant to say something each time this issue comes up, but could not have explained it nearly as well as you do. Her acceptance and even defense of the abuse is symptomatic of that psychology. It has nothign to do with whether or not she could physically kick her husband's ass
(which she probably could).

Can we at least agree that Angie is a noir character?


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