Re: RARA-AVIS: Zeltserman's In His Shadow

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 24 Oct 2002

<<Mario's review was educational in another way for me. I never knew that neo-noir started with Willeford's WOMAN CHASER. I've got it on the shelf, but haven't read it. Pretty impressive for such a skinny little book to start a new genre.>>

Michael: I coined postnoir because it's an ironic, knowing type of noir fiction. The distinction may be useful for discussion. The origin with The Woman Chaser is tentative and subject to revision. It's the earliest example I know, but then, maybe older books by Goodis and Thompson or Gil Brewer are ironic, too, and it just shows less (or I am blind to the irony).

On this subject: a reader commented privately that Adolfo Bioy Casares did write an early ironic-noir work (The Invention of Morel, 1940), but he writes with distance and the doings aren't dark enough -- and noir hadn't yet come on the scene. He is sophisticated and philosophical, not raw and direct as the great American noirists. Bioy did write many stories and other novels that do qualify as noir
(Diary of the War of the Pig, Adventures of a Photographer in La Plata), but in those the irony is toned down.

For those chasing parallels, I highly recommend reading Bioy's Morel back to back with William Campbell Gault's noir masterpiece Death Out of Focus.

Hell, we may even end up looking at Chesterton, H.G. Wells and Aldous Huxley next.




__________________________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Y! Web Hosting - Let the expert host your web site

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 24 Oct 2002 EDT