Re: RARA-AVIS: LA not-noir

From: Jacques Debierue (
Date: 17 Jul 2007

--- In, "Con Lehane" <con@...> wrote:
> Good take on Chester Himes, Al. I think his view of the absurd--in
the Camus sense--is
> what's distinctive about the Coffin Ed Johnson Grave Digger Jones
books. My own humble
> opinion is that the books were a kind of burlesque of the Hammett
(Spillaine) view of the
> world. But then, I'm usually wrong in my opinions.

I don't think you are wrong. I can see how a person who sees the world as a hopelessly wrong place can turn to very dark humor and grotesquerie in order to tell his stories. I was thinking exactly this the other day, while reading an extraordinary novel (you could call it a futuristic fantasy or nightmare) by the great Manuel de Pedrolo. You can feel that the guy was sending up the Spain of his day, but within the brutality of what he describes (without placing the novel anywhere recognizable), there is a burlesque element that reminds me strongly of Himes. Pedrolo translated many noir and hardboiled novels, and I think he absorbed stylistic elements.

This particular novel, whose Catalan title is _Totes les b賴ies de cಲega_ (All the Beasts of Burden, literally) deserves to be widely known, together with his three straight noir novels, all of which I reread recently.

While Pedrolo's work has been translated into Spanish, German and French, I don't know of English translations, unfortunately. I hope some day this situation is remedied.



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