Re: RARA-AVIS: Canadian Noir

From: Sandra Ruttan (
Date: 14 Apr 2007

On 4/14/07 10:37 AM, "Kerry J. Schooley" <> wrote:

³Not that it was all that easy for Margaret. And if it ever got easier, it was because Hollywood made Rachel, Rachel, based on her Stone Angel. The talent was always there, the work strong, but she had to be validated by the dominant culture before becoming acceptable here. Even then, I seem to recall that she was not very welcome back in the small Manitoba town where she grew up. And there was a push to ban her books in the Ontario school district where she spent the the last decades of her life.²

** We were still studying her work when I was in high school, which was the late 80¹s. I remember watching a film on her life. I still remember one of my classmates in Gr 13 English saying, ³Why does every book we read have to be so depressing?²

³Again, this is all magnified by Canada being a relatively small market- one tenth the size of the US, but I think this also feeds into what Willow is saying about self-perception (we're too nice and polite to murder anyone) becoming a difficult to overcome reality (we're too boring to host noir fiction.)²

** I think if it can work for England/Scotland it can work for Canada/US. The main obstacle is perception from the publishers. I¹ve found the US readers very open to foreign authors and work set elsewhere, they just seem to have a hard time getting it.

³Would you describe Giles Blunt's fiction, definitely good stuff, as noir?²

** I think my great sin is that I haven¹t yet read Giles Blunt. I have the small excuse of still being (relatively) a baby in this field, as it¹s only been about three years since I¹ve been really learning the genre. Prior to that I was maintaining my monogamous reading habits of finding an author, reading everything by them and then reluctantly starting from scratch.

When I heard about Giles I was very interested in reading his work. Being from Gravenhurst originally, I¹m pretty familiar with North Bay. What stopped me was when I heard about the bipolar theme. My reasons on that are personal, but I preferred reading rape and dismemberment or just about anything else to that. I still maintained I¹d read the books, just needed to wait until I felt I could handle it. I¹ve since met Giles and heard him speak and do look forward to his work. I read some sample chapters online, but since I haven¹t read an entire book don¹t feel I can offer an opinion on whether or not he¹s noir.

Which would likely just spark a whole new debate on that definition anyway. But he¹s on my tbr pile as a Œlong weekend of reading¹ - at some point when I can put a few luxury reads back to back I¹m going to start working through the series. Maybe the August long weekend, camping in the Rockies...


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