'By his own standards Sallis is neither a hard-boiled nor a noir author.
He honestly considers himself a "literary writer".'
That kind of saddens me. I don't see why any author has to choose
between these. Although, I do understand that, unfortunately and
wrongly in my opinion, many "literary" people still look down their
noses at "genre" people. Personally, I see Sallis as both. I think he
has done amazing things, particularly with the Lew Griffin series, to
show that genre does not have to be a straitjacket, that very literary
noir and hardboiled books can be written.
That said, this also reiterates to me that labels are mostly applied
from the outside, after the fact. And often by marketers and/or fans.
How often have we heard authors say they didn't know they were writing
noir when they wrote a book? Pretty recently here, Sara Gran said just
that about her excellent Come Closer, that she didn't conceive of it as
noir and didn't think of it as noir until the "noir community" (as I
think she put it) embraced it. And the word noir appears in many of the
cover blurbs. I went into it with the expectation of noir, and got
great noir, but could still see how it could just as easily have been
labeled a horror thriller, too, or instead. Same with Dave's Bad
Thoughts. I know he doesn't consider it noir, but I do.
Anyway, it's a shame when the labels are used to exclude some great work
and/or made to make authors feel their work is somehow less than.
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