Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: This Sporting Life.... Noir and Class

From: Patrick King (
Date: 20 Feb 2008

I'd say much more than "class, colour, money, education, status and sex," the clashes that occur in noir and hardboiled fiction are between the lucky and the unlucky in life. Most stories concern someone who's been very lucky or unlucky, and how their luck shifts and then shifts back. Sometimes the shift occurs due to hard work and intelligent planning
(Mildren Pierce, The Godfather), Or criminal activity
(The Grifters, Postman Always Rings Twice), but suddenly something that looks like great good fortune fails, or a gravytrain that looked like it would run forever is routed out, or someone who's never had a bit of luck fianlly sees an opportunity. Class, colour, money, education, status and sex are really just the underpinning of the story. You could reverse any of these in a well-written noir story, and still have just as good a tale as long as the reversals of fortune hold true.

Patrick King
--- Eric Chambers <> wrote:

> A few interesting points here."Your more hard-boiled
> and Nor stories
> usually take in place in less conservative locales"
> I have never thought about it that way. A lot of the
> fiction we are concerned with here involves the
> juxtaposition (clashes?) between people of different
> class, colour, money, education, status and sex.Some
> of it takes place in very conservative locales
> indeed.
> One sport that there are a lot of crime novels about
> is horse-racing. Anybody know any in this category
> you could define as hard-boiled or Noir. How about
> the gambling and casino industry?
> Rugby ( correctly 'Rugby Union') and Rugby League
> are both hard-played full-body contact sports. Both
> are currently big money sports. Rugby Union has a
> lot of tradition and prestige involved. Both sports
> inspire a lot of passion.
> In other words I can't see any reason why they
> wouldn't be a fitting subject area for Noir or
> hard-boiled fiction. I don't know of any though.
> What about Grid-Iron ( As we name American football
> in Australia?) Anybody aware of any football Noir
> or hard-boiled fiction?
> Charlie Williams"
> wrote,--- In rara-avis-l@
> yahoogroups. com, Steve Novak <Cinefrog@.. .> wrote:
> > Anyone knows about crime novels with rugby in
> them???...I know of
> one being
> > written at this time by a French author and
> friend...but aside from
> that???
> Interesting question that had me wracking my brains
> to no avail. In
> the UK at least, I suspect that rugby is way to
> middle class to allow
> much dabbling in the murky waters of crime. There
> are probably a few
> PD James or Colin Dexter-style investigations that
> touch on rugby or
> its players, but that is because the mystery is
> traditionally more
> middle class (like rugby). Your more hard-boiled
> and noir stories
> usually take in place in less conservative locales,
> and concern the
> kind of people who... well, don't care about rugby.
> Actually I'm just
> talking about England here, not the UK. Rugby has a
> different
> demographic in Wales, and rugby league (as in This
> Sporting Life, as
> I recall) is staunchly working class.
> Thinking about it, I can't think of many
> sports-themed noir or
> hardboiled stories at all (boxing and betting
> aside). Hey, maybe it's
> because teamwork and camaraderie keeps you on the
> straight and narrow?
> ---------------------------------
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> email address.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been
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