Re: RARA-AVIS: Who changed the noir writing ?

From: Tim Wohlforth (
Date: 13 Mar 2007

Of course taste in writing varies so I will concentrate on what I felt was innovative about the book. In the first place is its scope. It is a tale of three boys and what happens to them later in life. This is set against the changing background of the gentrification of two Boston neighborhoods. The book is told in the three voices of the main characters while classic noir generally stuck to a single voice. The characters are developed at considerable depth, perhaps more than some who are used to faster paced thinner books would prefer. Yet, again, this is innovative, not when compared to other contemporary writing but when contrasted to classic noir. Thus, while telling a personal story, it also is a commentary on our times. It is a novel in the fullest meaning of that word.

For an example of another tragic novel, this one from Britain, take a look at "A Place of Execution" by Val McDermid. It is by far her best book and in its own way also a contemporary classic. Again she captures a time period and a special place, really a kind of time warp place.

My point is not that these are the only "great" noir novels of our time. I bring them up to illustrate a kind of writing and scope now taking place in the noir field that distinguishes it from classic noir. Nor is my point necessarily that these writers are better than the noir pioneers. But they are more than copycats.


On Mar 13, 2007, at 11:17 AM, Jacques Debierue wrote:

> --- In, Tim Wohlforth
> <timwohlforth@...> wrote:
> > Character/description: Lehane's Mystic River, arguably the finest
> > contemporary crime novel.
> >
> Mmmm, I had trouble finishing that one. I didn't find anything
> original in it. The sense of deja
> vu was overpowering. I don't understand the praise for this book.
> Best,
> MrT

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