RARA-AVIS: Re: Torture Porn

From: Jacques Debierue ( matrxtech@yahoo.com)
Date: 06 Jul 2007

A friend with whom I had lunch today portrayed the situation thus: the old noir novels grew in sync with existentialism, whereas the neonoir crowd has grown out of a much deeper alienation: the alienation of the consumer, the alienation of the worker, the alienation of the voter, the alienation of the family-bereft, the alienation of the lover... lots of alienations wanting to be vented. He remarked that the depictions of extreme violence signifies, to him, some sort of sublimation of that mass of feelings, all of them frustrating. The form this literature takes is quite different from existentialist noir. It is closer to the Mickey Spillane school of hardboiled.

I convey this as another point of view, not necessarily mine (of late, I am not much into noir literature or hardboiled literature, though I do think the three noir novels that Catalan master novelist Manuel de Pedrolo produced should be known in other languages. Joc brut (Dirty play), in particular, should be known internationally.

And speaking of Pedrolo, in one his novels he spends about 30 pages on an operation being carried out on a woman, in which scores of surgeons, nurses and onlookers proceed to take her apart, or pieces of her, in fact torturing her until she dies. It reminded me of what we have been discussing here. It is horrifying, and the entire novel, a futuristic nightmare, grows out of this. Pedrolo carries it off because of his supreme mastery... a lesser writer would have lost the reader already, I think.



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