RARA-AVIS: Oz hardboiled, Southern Gothic, and irony of style

From: Robison Michael R CNIN ( Robison_M@crane.navy.mil)
Date: 19 Mar 2003

Ed Lynskey wrote: There's a fine ezine called Crime Factory from Australia (google can fetch the url). You may've well already consulted it. I was looking at it not long ago and there are some good interviews with authors. There's some fiction, too, but they've stopped publishing that part. The ezine might help in your research.

BTW, I saw your posting (on DorothyL?) for a Southern Gothic+HB article (in progress?). Sounds like an interesting topic.
********** Thanks, Ed. I checked out the Crime Factory and it looks like this edition they've gone American. I need to go back and see if they have back issues of the paper edition for sale.

I decided I wanted to put my thoughts together on a slightly bigger picture than just a single book at a time so I broke away from writing single book reviews for the moment. I'm trying hard now to collect my thoughts on what kind of things happened to hardboiled/noir in the Thirties. Hence all the questions on gangster, Hollywood, noir, Proletariat, and Southern Gothic. What I found is that I'm not very comfortable with my level of experience with all those subgenres. Best way to fix that is by reading more.

Anyway, I developed this broad sweeping generality about two main themes that run through all Southern Gothic and I got nervous about making those kind of generalizations about some- thing I barely know jack about, so I started reading it, and I really like it. There is so much room for play. I think I already mentioned that I recently read Cormac McCarthy's CHILD OF GOD and O'Connor's WISE BLOOD. I just finished Woodrell's GIVE US A KISS. I know somebody here recommended it but I can't remember who and I apologize and thank them. The book was funny and I couldn't hardly drag myself away from it. Reading it dredged up that mysterious comment about irony of style that Mario made some time ago into the new noir that began with Willeford's WOMAN CHASER. I believe I'm closer to understanding the concept but not the specifics. I think that Mario, when he made his "irony of style" comment, meant that the basic framework of noir was in place but there is a twist to it. I tried to find the twist in GIVE US A KISS, and I need to read WOMAN CHASER and see if I can identify it there.

Bottom line is that after I get this hardboiled 1930s thing done, I'd like to dig into Southern Gothic some more, read some more of those titles that were suggested, and then write something on Southern Gothic.


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