RARA-AVIS: Hjortsberg's _Falling Angel_

From: Jay Gertzman ( jgertzma@earthlink.net)
Date: 08 May 2004

I am preparing to lead a discussion of this novel. It will be very popular with the reading group. It is graphically written, a good combination of 2 popular genres, and a good recreation of late-1950s New York. But when I compare it to treatments of evil and its effects on the human psyche, I cannot rate it as highly as Cain's _Double Indemnity_, Greene's _Brighton Rock_, Willeford's _Burnt Orange Heresy_, or films like _Chinatown_ (from which Hjortsberg may well have borrowed for the incest, devil, and final shock of recognition themes). My problem is
*SPOILER* that Harry Angel is not aware of what he has done in his former "incarnation" as Johnny Favorite, and that he has done nothing in the course of the novel which indicates his own moral degeneratrion. Maybe I'm wrong, b/c he is cynical, may have pushed Dr Fowler to kill himself, and does dispatch Ethan Krusmark (perhaps in self-defence). I guess Hjortsberg is not describing Harry's self-destructive moral degeneration by his own choice. Taht's the problem, Harry is given the ultimate penalty b/c of a fate beyond his control. Does this count as noir?

# Plain ASCII text only, please.  Anything else won't show up.
# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# majordomo@icomm.ca.  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 08 May 2004 EDT