Re: Father Figure (was Re: RARA-AVIS: Positions still open)

Date: 13 Aug 2008

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    Brian wrote:

    '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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