Re: RARA-AVIS: transgender (was Noir Manifesto)

From: E.Borgers (
Date: 31 Oct 2005


There are some French Noir novels using transgender characters, not transvestites. Often the character is really secondary, but there's one in which the male to female transgender is an important character of the story; I do not think it was ever translated: Title: PIANO BARJO (1983) -pure play of words, could be equivalent to
"Piano Crazy" or to mimic the play of word: "Piano Parano"- a novel by Tito Topin, taking place in the Marocco of the fifties when a significant amount of French people were still living there. The transgender is a singer/ dancer in a very lousy bar where the central character plays piano. He/she is in love with the piano player... which makes a secondary plot expanding and mixing with the main one. Atypical, noir, very violent during some parts, the whole thing is soaked in a very dark humor and lot of cynicism.

Tito Topin made a string of very interesting noir novels, some with the humor vein taking the leading, but all of them always very inventive, atypical and full of black humor. Topin was the script writer of a very successful police serial for the French TV ("Navarro"), and this made him stop -during the end of the eighties- his noir novels writing. Unfortunately.

There are probably some other French novels to be listed to answer Mark's request, but that's the one I immediately remembered.


>This raises a question -- are there any transgender protagonists (not
>just walk-ons) in noir or hardboiled lit? I'm aware of plenty of gay
>and lesbian (I've often wondered why lesbian has to be added -- isn't
>gay gender neutral?) protagonists, but no transgendered. I bet a pretty
>interesting book could be done from such an outsider perspective.

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 31 Oct 2005 EST