Re: RARA-AVIS: UK noir

From: John Williams (
Date: 10 Jun 2002

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> Your preliminary reading list for UK HB/Noir.

> Derek Raymond

absolutely. He Died With His EYes Open, the first of the Factory series, is his masterpiece I think. And The Crust On Its Uppers, though very different, is a really entertaining novel of sixties London as is the much more downbeat Public parts And Private PLaces.

> Ted Lewis

Jack's Return Home. - Justly his most famous book - GBH has a demented charm too

 David Peace

1977 is an extraordinarily powerful book. Peace is the best crime novelist currently writing on either side of the Atlantic, I think.

Others -

Gerald Kersh - Night And the City, of course, and the recently reissued Fowler's End which begins with an extended monologue to rival George V. Higgins.

Patrick Hamilton - Hangover Square, absolutely. I read this book while sitting on the dock in Piraeus waiting for a ferry which never came. Lord was I depressed by the end of day.

Ken Bruen - Rilke On Black is, for my money, the best from a writer who tends to be too prolific for his own good.

Alexander Baron - The Lowlife - also recently reissued, a fine understated London novel from the great underrated war novelist.

Jean Rhys - There's no more distinctively female noir voice than that of the late Ms Rhys. Try starting with Good Morning Midnight or After Leaving Mr Mackenzie before moving on to the non-noir but bona fide classic Wide Sargasso Sea.

Chris Petit - The Psalm Killer - Maybe the only worthwhile serial killer novel of the last decade, what makes the difference is that Petit's killer is used by British intelligence to foster the Irish troubles though the seventies.The crime novel as revisionist history.

Colin Bateman - Try Divorcing Jack or, best, Cycle Of Violence for a rare comic slant on the Troubles. Later Bateman to be approached with care.

Niall Griffiths - Kelly & Victor Deeply noir journey into sexual obsession by the James Joyce of Aberystwyth

Malcolm Pryce - Aberystwyth Mon Amour - wonderfully sustained Chandler parody set in a Welsh seaside town.

That'll do for now


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