RARA-AVIS: Re: Neo-nah...

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 29 Jun 2007

I wrote:

> "After reading a spate of recent books by some of the more highly
> touted
> practitioners of the "new noir," I've noticed something.
> "Not in all of them, mind you, but in enough of them to be
> disturbed by
> what seems to be a trend. I hope not. Maybe I just hit a bad string of
> books (and no, i don't want to name them)."

And Mark wrote:

> Since when have you become so reticent?

Since I moved to LaLaLand and got so friggin' mellow...

Actually, it's the trend -- not any particular works -- I'm disturbed by. Not having read everything by everyone, I'm loathe to suggest so- and-so is this or that, based on just one book. But there does seem to be a trend developing.

> "All the meanness and carnage of these soulless wallows comes off more
> like pornography than noir, at least to me."
> While maybe more prominent, is that really so new? This sounds
> like the
> reaction I had 10-20 years ago to Rex Miller's Slob, one of the few
> books I stopped reading without finishing.

Not new, perhaps, but now ol' Rex would probably be considered almost mainstream these days. I mean, America's sweetheart is now a brain- dead ex-con skank?

Come back, Mary Pickford.

(Yeah, yeah, I know, but it'll just distract them).

And William wrote:

> If you allow "noir" to
> include the pulp tradition, then that's where the
> confusion may be.

Yep, I think that's a big part of the problem. "Noir" and "Pulp" and
"Hard-boiled" have become almost interchangeable in the Blurbiverse, even among writers who should know better. They may know the names, but sometimes I wonder if they know the books. But whatever sub-genre banner these guys are sailing under, I'm not sure I like where they're heading.

Cheap cynicism is easy; writing well is not.

Kevin Burton Smith Detectives Bicycles Rock'n'Roll http://www.kevinburtonsmith.com

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