Re: RARA-AVIS: Everything's Noir?

Date: 19 May 2007

Jason wrote:

"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'm curious. You're obviously very well read in noir now. Were you when you first started writing? It seems that most artists start by, if not exactly imitating, wanting to be like someone else or as good as someone else, with a particular model in mind. For instance, in a Washington Post interview a few days ago, Jonathan Lethem said that, far from being insulted when people said his first book was like a cross between Dick and Chandler, he took it as a compliment that he had acomplished what he set out to do. Did you see yourself as following in the footsteps of any particular writers then? Were they noir or did they come from a wider spectrum of writing?


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