Re: RARA-AVIS: Sinister Noir

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 17 May 2004

Jim wrote:

'I just tried to see what it was that writers as disparate as Chandler, and Goodis, and Williams, and Willeford, could have in common. I found a very rough similarity in some of the atmospherics. I described the atmospherics as "dark and sinister."'

If you are defining "dark and sinister" as applying to scenic atmospherics and not morality or character, as you have repeatedly stated, what by Willeford qualifies? His humor is very dark, many of his characters are sinister, but I can't think of the settings in any of his books I've read (not all, but every one that has been in print in the past couple decades) as dark and sinister (with the possible exception of Pick Up). In fact, a major part of his appeal to me is how bright and seemingly cheery his often hilarious books are while detailing such terrible, even sinister, behavior.


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