RARA-AVIS: Re: Psycho Noir

From: Dave Zeltserman ( davezelt@comcast.net)
Date: 21 Mar 2006

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "George Tuttle"
<noirfiction@...> wrote:
> I think you are right. I can't say the Kid Collins really crosses
> line, but my recollection is shaky too, and I no longer have a

I look at Kid Collins more a tragic figure than a noir anti-hero, willingly sacrificing his own life so that Fay could have a chance. While he was perceived "stupid" (or more accurately, slow), it was that he just didn't give a damn.

> In some stories, it is very clear. There is a "psychotic moment," a
> point in the story where psychosis exhibits itself in some piece of
> dialog or thought. At that point, he/she is longer one of us (not a
> fair statement - just an attempt, on my part, to characterize the
> reader's point of view.)
> Yes, the hero is the victim. I always hope it won't end that way,
> it always does.

I don't know if characters like Frank "Dolly" Dillon or Carl Bigelow are victims as much as that they're getting what they deserve. But because there's a glimmer of hope before the curtain falls, we do find ourselves rooting for them.

About how accurate their psychosises are, I'm not sure it really matters as long as they're perceived to be real, and it's believable - and Jim Thompson sure as hell did a good job convincing us that their psychosises were real. I did read someplace that Thompson based Killer Inside Me on a true crime case (how much he based it on I have no idea). In my own case, I do try to research my characters' personality disorders to keep their thought processes and actions realistic.

Dave Zeltserman

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 21 Mar 2006 EST