Re: RARA-AVIS: Hjortsberg's _Falling Angel_

From: Doug Bassett (
Date: 09 May 2004

--- JIM DOHERTY <> wrote:
> Jay,
> Re your question below:
> > Taht's the problem,
> > Harry is given the
> > ultimate penalty b/c of a fate beyond his control.
> > Does this count as noir?
> FALLING ANGEL is noir, but not because of Harry's
> control, or lack of control, over his own fate, but
> because it has a dark and sinister atmosphere.
> That said, I had some of the same problems with the
> book that you did.

FALLING ANGEL is essentially a shaggy-dog story -- the whole book is a set-up for the punchline. I think it's okay, but prefer the movie, ANGEL HEART, which among other things sensibly relocated the setting to New Orleans.

I think the book is essentially a horror story, and is best appreciated in those terms. (The PI plot is surface gloss). My main problem with the esteemable Mr. Doherty's definition of "noir" is that it lets in a lot of horror stories like FALLING ANGEL.


===== Doug Bassett

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