Re: RARA-AVIS: RE: Hardboiled AND Noir

From: Geir Glosvik (
Date: 19 Dec 2003

> Some things really are simple. "Hard-boiled" and
> "noir" are two of them.

I've been away for a week with no access, and I was amazed (and amused) with all the comments to my post of last Saturday. Mario called it
'rehash', and I see his point. I's not a new discussion, but what could be new on this list except new books? (Hi Al, I'll order your book). What was on my mind when writing that post, was just what I tried to explain: the differences between certain writers of what Allen J. Hubin categorizes as 'crime fiction'. I maintained there's a different 'view of life' or 'world view' in the books of - let's say R.S.Prather and D.Goodis. I did not put the labels 'hard-boiled' and 'noir' on these views, but the labels have stuck, and most people know what is meant by them. And if things were as simple as Jim wants them to be, there wouldn't be about 30 posts on the list during 3-4 days, 'rehashing' this subject.

Of course Jim has a point: there's definitely 'a dark and sinister atmosphere' in those books that are labeled 'noir'. But why? It's got to do with the people described - their motives, their background, their beliefs, their 'world view', their actions or lack there-of. When a good writer tries do describe people like this - especially self-destructive people with good motives - the atmosphere inevitably gets dark and sinister or else it won't be experienced as 'sincere'. Like Edward Anderson's 'Thieves Like Us'. And I think this is vital: the way the main characters and their attitudes are described. In my opinion, the same view applies to the characters of the 'hard-boiled' novels. The main characters are hard-fisted men with an optimistic attitude: here's trouble and I'm here to sort it out. And he does. Well - now sometimes she.

There were several of the comments on this subject that were onto something like these thoughts of mine - Kerry, Mario, Jack a.o.

Regards, Geir Glosvik

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