Re: RARA-AVIS: Sinister Noir

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 18 May 2004

----- Original Message ----- From: "JIM DOHERTY" <>
> Any story will put obstacles in the way of the hero,
> whether he wins out in the end or not. A series of
> obstacles that keep the hero from his goal is "a run
> of bad luck."

Ergo, all novels are about bad luck. You sure?

> Aside from that, since the phrase "un series noir" is,
> apparently, a fairly common colloquialism in France, I
> suspect Duhamel meant it as ironically humorous.

And most fitting, I'm sure you'd agree, since irony is such an integral part of noir.

> At what point did 'harshly gritty' become a
> qualification?

>I'm so very sorry I was unclear. Make it, "seemed
>harshly gritty enough to qualify as 'dark and


I wasn't aware that 'harshly gritty enough' meant 'dark and sinister'. Makes a hell of a strong case for D H Lawrence's "Sons and Lovers," especially since there's a murder. Rules out Jonathan Coe's "What A Carve Up", though, since it's 'dark and sinister' yet paradoxically not 'harshly gritty enough'.

Ah, well. Thanks for the discussion, Jim. As usual, we disagree and I fear we're now (if indeed we haven't always been) boring everyone senseless. Anyway, enough on the subject from me. I'm off to try and track down that most illusive subgenre, blanc noir.


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