Re: RARA-AVIS: No Orchids

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 02 Jan 2005

----- Original Message ----- From: "Steven Harbin" <>
>He appears to have detested what it and it's popularity stood for, while
realizing that it was still well written.

As you say, Steven. Next time I'll read the whole essay before quoting from it. So, yes, Orwell's clearly no fan of hardboiled literature. Prefers his cricket-playing gentleman thieves. "No Orchids" takes an unfair bashing for being the most overt and succesful example of the American colonization of English popular crime fiction. But dissing an entire sub-genre hardly tells those of us who enjoy that particular sub-genre whether a book is any good.
"A brilliant piece of writing", which is how Orwell describes it, does.

Interesting comments on the expectations of the times. Among other things, Chase gets it in the neck for daring to blur the lines between good and evil, which is apparently okay in "a serious novel" but not in "lowbrow fiction" where "one still expects to find a sharp distinction between right and wrong and between legality and illegality."


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 02 Jan 2005 EST