RARA-AVIS: Woodrell's definition of noir

From: modestyarbor (modestyarbor@yahoo.com)
Date: 01 Feb 2009

  • Next message: jacquesdebierue: "RARA-AVIS: Re: Woodrell's definition of noir"

    I'm with Al, "Death of Sweet Mister" is one of THE great crime novels.

    I have a new collection of interviews called "Rogue Males" that Bleak House will publish in May.

    It includes interviews with Iowa Workshop alums James Crumley, Daniel Woodrell and Max Allan Collins.

    In an interview I conducted with Daniel Woodrell in June 2006, I put the noir question to him directly:

    Q. That book was described as a "country noir." Noir as a term has become almost valueless as it is so liberally applied by those who don't have a good working definition. I've read you have a pretty strict definition of the term in your own mind, and it is focused on what noir requires for an ending. Could you illuminate that?

    A. It has to end tragically, that's all. It just has to end tragically to be actual noir. That's why Winter's Bone the "country noir" term is still getting used here and there it's not actually a noir. It doesn't really fit the requirements by my standards. Although some other people use noir in a way where I guess it would fit. But to me, I like the stricter definition because it thereby makes it discrete from all the other forms of dark fiction. I do see the term on books that would not be in the least noir by my standards.

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