Re: RARA-AVIS: Recent Reads

Date: 30 Jan 2005

Keith wrote:

"I think I just got it!! And, of course, it is personal, but Nina I liked! Ms. Hendricks' characters -- at least in first three -- I didn't.
"Good enough."

Absolutely. I certainly wasn't trying to convince you that you should like her writing if you don't. That's entirely personal, as you note.

I was just commenting on the odd phenomenon of adding qualifying adjectives to non-male noir. As Juri notes, this is a very usual thing to add an "other" adjective for non-hegemonic (blame the academic jargon on me, not Juri) writers. And it's not just gender. We do it with race, sexuality, etc. I'm not saying it doesn't make sense. It does. In fact, many writers from other perspectives, especially the early ones, often tend to highlight that differentness as they give voices to seldom heard perspectives. Hendricks often does this. And readers looking to find their previously absent selves will actively seek out these new voices. Of course, at the same time, these writers end up pointing out that the unquestioned attributes of the norm to which they are responding are also social constructions.

I find it interesting how culture promotes the idea that there is a place for everyone and everyone should stay in their place. In fact, doesn't much of noir and hardboiled explore the problems that ensue when people do not stay in their places? Don't many (all?) of Hendricks's protagonists get in trouble for "acting like men," especially sexually? Hell, the character in Iguana Love even grows a dick through steroid use. Or maybe they get in trouble because they can't entirely act like men. They actively pursue and enjoy sex, but can't ignore the emotional attachment/possession. Of course, that's exactly how men get in trouble with noir femmes fatales. Hendricks has simply reversed the polarity and shows the consequences of women getting involved with hommes fatals.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 30 Jan 2005 EST