RE: RARA-AVIS: Noir & other urban myths

From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 03 Jul 2002

rene said: a couple of things struck me: firstly, just how much hb/noir is set in rural, small town or even marine settings & how this has been the case right from the git-go.


that thought has been running thru my head too here recently, rene. to me, the classic noir scene is the guy in the overcoat with the upturned collar walking down the dirty and dimly lit narrow city street in a drizzle. but that ain't what i'm reading. now i'll admit that i'm still a noir rookie, but almost every- thing i've read that i'd call noir has been country or small town settings. charles william's _river girl_, cain's _postman_, anderson's _thieves like us_, thompson's _killer inside me_, gresham's _nightmare alley_. and like you say, many that do occur in the big city, like mccoy's _they shoot horses, don't they?_, for instance, don't invoke what i would con- sider the scenery of urban noir. the closest i've seen to using the big city as a noir prop is terrill's

shifting gears, i noticed in another post you mentioned wanting to read terrill's _shooters_. i recommend it. i read it in two days. i couldn't put it down. its a stunning piece of work. marlowe's cynicism and sharp one-liners, well-drawn characters, and a plot to knock your socks off. if i was tasked to point to one book which defines noir, it would be this one. this is one of the few books where i dogtagged pages because there was prose that i needed to come back to and read again.



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