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

From: Tim Wohlforth (
Date: 15 Mar 2007

To get back to Lehane. The major point of my original contribution is that we needed to first determine what is new in noir writing and then decide who contributed to these trends. Admittedly my list of new noir characteristics was sketchy. However, I would suggest that writing a more multi-layered, multi-voiced coming of age novel with a noir plot is different from noir writing of say 50 years ago. While I would agree with Brian that Hammett and Chandler had it all (plot, character, setting, voice) I would suggest that the hardboiled writing of their time was more plot/puzzle driven than contemporary noir writing. I believe there's beauty in sparseness, power in singularity. These noir trends from the past continue in different forms today. But also a more expansive style is being written. And I am afraid contrivance is a sin practiced by almost all fiction writers in all genres. I would suggest a contrivance "works" if it allows for the development of character. It doesn't when it stops the reader is his/her tracks as clearly some sections of Mystic River stopped some members of this list.


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