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

From: Jacques Debierue (
Date: 15 Mar 2007

--- In, "crimeflix" <jmks100@...> wrote:
> Hmm, re Elmore Leonard, I don't see how he can't be considered a
> major innovator. I actually see him as THE major innovator of the
> past thirty years. Though I wouldn't consider Leonard a noir writer
> (to me his major books are pure crime fiction), I think he picked up
> on what George V. Higgins did, with dialogue-driven, character-
> driven, vernacular-driven crime fiction, and took it to another
> level. Leonard also is an outstanding plotter, an aspect of writing
> that I think is ignored, or taken for granted, by many critics. I
> think it takes at least as much to skill to craft a great plot as it
> does to craft a great sentence, and Leonard is a genius at both.
> Jason S

Agreed. I recently reread two of his best books, _The Moonshine War_ and _Freaky Deaky_ and found them outstanding in all respects. I also agree that he is a pure crime writer and not noir; in his authorial voice, he reveals himself as too savvy, too ironic. His characters, too, even if they are stone dumb or total psychos, have a basic knowledge of real life. He also uses a kind of humor that is not noirish because it is so sane.

In any case, I am glad that Leonard is getting his due, critically speaking. Writers who write as much and with so much commercial success as he has always runs the risk of being undervalued by the critics.



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