Re: RARA-AVIS: Everything's Noir?

From: crimeflix (
Date: 19 May 2007

Like Seymour, when I wrote my first novel I had no idea I was writing noir. When I started sending the novel out to agents and publishers I called the book "a psychological thriller," and when that didn't work I called it "a dark suspense novel." That didn't work either. Then I got a rejection letter that said "Sorry, we don't publish noir at this house," and I thought, Hey, great idea! I sent it out calling it "my noir novel" and it sold. So maybe it's true that you can learn from your rejections. I agree, though, noir has become a very ambiguous word and no matter how often it's defined, people still seem to have their own definitions. I like the screwed definition that has come up on this list a lot, but the way I think of it is that noir is reality. Noir gives us an actual view of the world, full of all its randomness and chaos, and--as in real life--things don't work out in the end. It's not necessarily a comforting view, but it doesn't have to be overly bleak. My favorite noir novels have a lot of humor in them, like Thompson and Willeford and Hendricks. Not sure if these have been mentioned here, but a couple of excellent noir novels I've read over the past month or so are Red Baker by Robert Ward and Queenpin by Megan Abbott. Well, at least they fit my definition. J

--- In, "Jeff Vorzimmer" <jvorzimmer@...> wrote:
> > When he's good, I think he's the best noir writer
> > because his style is so his own and he really cuts out
> > a piece of the world all his own. Being a New Yorker,
> > I loved his take on the city. It's priceless. Be very
> > interested in what you think after you're done with
> > it.
> Being a New Yorker myself I just elevated it to the top of my TBR
pile. I'll
> let you know.
> Thanks!
> Jeff

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