Re: RARA-AVIS: L. Sciascia, J-C Izzo and Y.Khadra

From: Etienne Borgers (
Date: 21 Jan 2003

- About Sciascia, I second Mario's comments. I know at least two of his books that are part of the territory we explore in R-A; if they are not real hard-boiled per se they are certainly noirish. This author wrote many of his books as a reaction against the institutional corruption in Italy during the "Years of lead" (60s-70s). As I read them in French translation, I do not know the English titles.

- Jean-Claude Izzo -a French author as you may know- came rather late to HB/Noir and died too early to develop his full potential (and as far as I know, he died of illness!). His first novel of this genre: 'Total Kh鯰s'
(title could be translated as : Total Chaos) is a first class novel, very noir, pessimistic and tough. This book is the first of a trilogy with the
"commissaire Fabio Montale" (=chief of a police district), in Marseille. The integration of the city (Marseille) in Izzo's stories is rather original, as it becomes a real "actor" (and not just a detailed background, as in HB/Noir tradition). However, the two other books ('Chourmo'and
'Solea') are not as good as the first one- IMO. If you read French you could check out my reviews for these 3 books in POLAR NOIR (chapter: Carnets Noir), at:

- Yasmina Khadra is something special due to the profile of the author! He's a man, and this was not obvious until end 1999 when he came openly to explain his life, as the pseudo is made with two female names, in fact the given names of his wife. Real name: Mohamed Moulessehoul. He's Algerian and was in the Algerian Army since his young days (in 1955, 9 years old, sent in a kind of army academy) because he was "rejected" by his family. His vocation was to be a writer, so he wrote (general literature, in Arabian and under his real name) still being in the army (where he finishes as a high rank officer), and as it was not well accepted by this authority, he stopped publishing in Algeria (later it even became worse, when the army was controlling the government- since 1992 after a "coup d'鴡t" against the chaos created by the actions of the rising integrists, as you may know). He participated to the bloody civil war against the integrists. As he could wrote also in French, he started to publish real Noir in France under his pseudo (first book in France 'Morituri' featuring the
"commissaire Lobb" as central character- published in 1997), by fear of reprisals. Today he continues to publish in French Some of his French novels are very violent, and most are in our HB/Noir territory. No longer in the Algerian Army, he lives now in Mexico.

I do not know the other authors.

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries

At 07:39 21-01-03 -0000, you wrote:
>I'm interested in finding out if any of the following authors are worth
>pursuing. Are they hardboiled/noir? If so, are they any good? Any
>opinions or information welcome.
>Leonardo Sciascia
>Jean-Claude Izzo
>Massimo Carlotto
>Yasmina Khadra
>Giorgio Scerbanenco
>Santo Piazzese
>Jorge Ibarquengoitia
>Shane Maloney
>Thanks in advance

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