Re: RARA-AVIS: Everything's Noir?

From: crimeflix (
Date: 20 May 2007

> 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
  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?

In the mid to late nineties the term noir wasn't nearly as widely to describe fiction as it is now. Do you agree or was this just my perception? In France it was used, of course, but in the U.S. noir was used almost exclusively for film noir (which, incidentally, I think has a much broader definition than noir fiction. For example The Big Sleep is undoubtedly a film noir, but the novel doesn't fit my definition of noir at all. I don't think you can have a PI in noir fiction, unless it's a Dave Zeltzerman novel)...So, back to your question, when I started writing novels I wasn't even aware of noir fiction. I'd been reading a lot of Jim Thompson, Goodis, some Cain, a few others, but I didn't read Willeford, Williams, White, Brewer, Whittington, etc until much later. And I never thought of Thompson, for example, as a noir writer. I had been reading a lot of dark suspense and horror (and was very into horror movies) so I thought of Thompson as a writer of psychological-horror (I still do, actually). I thought Cain's books were dark suspense (and I still do). The other main writers I was reading included Elmore Leonard, David Mamet, Paul Auster, Ian McEwan, Paul Bowles, and A LOT of playwrights.

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