RARA-AVIS: Re:Most Hard-Boiled?

From: al_guthrie65 ( allan@allanguthrie.co.uk)
Date: 18 Dec 2006


You're forgetting half of your own definition of hardboiled. You talk about the toughest characters and writers but you don't talk about the most colloquial.

Incidentally, here's a link (in French) to a quote by Marcel Duhamel describing La Serie Noire books. I'm told that he mentions morality, non-conformity, anguish, corruption, action, violence and a host of other things we frequently talk about here. I believe you've said on several occasions that we shouldn't redefine what Duhamel previously defined. Well, now we have the words from his lips and they aren't 'dark and sinister'. I'd be most appreciative if one of the French speakers on list has the time to translate this.



--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, JIM DOHERTY <jimdohertyjr@...> wrote:
> JB,
> Re your question below:
> "Hi,gang! Who's the hardest,of the hard-boiled
> writers,the most hard-boiled? Thanks! See ya,on the
> mean streets!"
> Good question. I think a case could be made that
> Spillane's Mike Hammer is that hardest-boiled private
> eye character, but, particularly recently, Spillane,
> as a writer rather than as the creator of an iconic
> character, seems a little tame.
> The problem with a phrase like "MOST hard-boiled" is
> that one can be so hard-boiled as to beover-the-top.
> Is Don Pendleton more hard-boiled than Michael
> Connelly because there's more death and destruction in
> one Executioner novel than in Connelly's entire
> corpus? Probably, at one level. But Mack Bolan is so
> tough that, ultimately, he's unbelievable. So, on
> another level, a character like Harry Bosch, more
> rooted in the real world, seems more believably
> hard-boiled than Bolan, and, consequently, Connelly a
> more hard-boiled writer than Pendleton.
> Using that "believability" yardstick, and sticking to
> more or less contemporary writers, here are a few
> nominees. Gerald Petievich, Kent Anderson, Bill
> James, Donald Hamilton, Adam Hall, John Wainwright,
> Joe Gores, Loren Estleman, and Richard Stark.
> Interestingly, considering how inestricably connected
> the adjective "hard-boiled" is with the subject
> "private eye," it's interesting that only twoof the
> writers I suggest are PI novelists, and one of those,
> Gores, is a fairly atypical one at that. That wasn't
> planned when I typed my sggestions off the top of my
> head.
> Maybe it goes back to that "believability" factor. I
> love the hard-boiled private eye figure, but he (and,
> increasingly she) has always seems like a fantasy
> construct. There are no real PI's like Philip Marlowe
> or Mike Hammer. There ARE cops like Charlie Carr and
> Colin Harpur, spies like Matt Helm and Quiller, and
> professional criminals like Parker, and those
> characters, and their creators, seem believably
> hard-boiled in a way that even a well-made private eye
> can't.
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