RE: RARA-AVIS: City of Glass

From: Johnny Klapp (
Date: 15 Jun 2003

Mark et al,

I will check out those guys. But I am a script writer and wonder if this mailing list is purely dedicated to the novel? I thought films made more hard-boiled impact than books, with Humphrey Bogart etc.

However, I'm looking forward to getting to know what's happening in other media. Thrillers have pretty strong contraints (at least American ones do) when they're made into films because they need to make their money back and so they can't be too far afield. Once in a while a Memento comes along, though.

I wasn't joking about taking refuge among the French. The French thrillers are more ambiguous and subtle, especially the old ones
(50s/60s) before they tried to copy Hollywood. Case in point, Plein Soleil (Purple Noon in English, for some reason) which is the Rene Clement film based on The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. Compare it to the Minghella version, which is not without its virtues, but...

And since postmodernism is largely a French invention they have their funky crime novelists too, like Fred Vargas (a woman) who does not seem to be translated into English much, and, shockingly, the greatest plotters of all time, Boileau-Narcejac, a pair who together wrote the novels that Vertigo (D'Entre les morts) and Les Diaboliques (Celle qui n'etait plus) were based on, and fifty others, most of which are not translated.

I live in Paris half the time now, the other half in London, and my French is only just getting good enough to maybe read a whole novel in it without my head exploding. So that doubles the literature. Imagine that.


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