RE: RARA-AVIS: RE: Faith and cynicism hand-in-hand in noir and hard-bolied fiction

From: Ron Clinton (
Date: 03 Mar 2009

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    Harry, with the presumption that there is a definable difference between crime fiction and mystery fiction, my experience with this list is that classic noir and hardboiled writers (Cain, Brewer, Hammett, Woolrich, Goodis, Thompson, et al) tend to be the most discussed, followed by modern-day American writers of crime fiction (Pelecanos, Block, Westlake, Connelly, et al), followed by modern-day English writers of crime fiction
    (Guthrie, Bruen, et al), followed by both American writers of generic mystery fiction (Grafton, Parker, et al), follwed by English writers of generic mystery fiction. Others may disagree...that's simply my personal take on the list over the last decade (?) I've been a member. Frankly, it's a trend I enjoy and appreciate, and the reason I've stayed a member for so long.

    Since as you indicate, Gash is seen by many as "a rather more generic mystery" writer, the trend of the list is such that he is likely to get little play around here, deservedly or not -- as evidenced by your previous three attempts "to start a discussion about Jonathan Gash's work without any real success." I, for one, have never read him, and likely never will...that type of of material just doesn't float my boat. Regardless of whether others here share your affinity for Gash, however, it's nice that you've latched onto a writer and character that you enjoy so much and consistently speaks to you in a special manner. I have several such authors as well, and it's always a pleasure to enter their world.

    Ron C.

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From:
    > [] On Behalf Of Harry Joseph Lerner
    > Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2009 10:38 AM
    > To:
    > Subject: RARA-AVIS: RE: Faith and cynicism hand-in-hand in
    > noir and hard-bolied fiction
    > Hello all,
    > My numerous typos aside, was my question too confusing, or
    > simply not subject-appropriate for this list? I have a great
    > deal of respect for everyone on this list, thus I often turn
    > to you for insight and information and am very rarely
    > disappointed as a result. However, this is the third time,
    > by my count, that I have tried to start a discussion about
    > Jonathan Gash's work without any real success.
    > Just curious...
    > Best,
    > Harry
    > ________________________________________
    > From:
    > [] On Behalf Of Harry Joseph
    > Lerner []
    > Sent: March 1, 2009 11:19 AM
    > To:
    > Subject: RARA-AVIS: Faith and cynicism hand-in-hand in noir
    > and hard-bolied fiction
    > Hello fellow rara-avians,
    > In an effort to start a more on-topic discussion, I ask the
    > following question: What are some examples of noir or
    > hard-boiled characters, either in stand-alone novels or
    > series characters, that have an enduring faith in something
    > other than their own personal code of conduct that rather
    > than subvert the usual norish or hard-boiled character traits
    > actually serves to re-inforce them. When I say faith, it is
    > something that need not be restricted to religious belief. It
    > can be entirely secular in nature. The case in point that got
    > me going along this particular train of thought is that of
    > Gash's Lovejoy series. I know I have brought up Lovejoy on
    > this list a few times before without inspiring much dialogue,
    > but I thought it worth another try. Lovejoy, while some of
    > you probably consider him a rather more generic mystery
    > series protagonist, embodies many of the generally agreed
    > upon attributes that collectively describe what we call a
    > noir or hard-bolied character. In Love joy's case, the world
    > of antiques is his faith, and his absolute devotion to this
    > world is what sets everyone and everything else apart in a
    > perpetual cloud of jaded cynicism. I'm curious which other
    > authors have tried their hand at this or similar variations
    > on the standard noir or hard-boiled formula. For more details
    > on my take on Lovejoy as a kind of re-evaluation of noir
    > check out Allan Guthrie's NOIR ORIGINALS for an article I
    > wrote not too long ago.
    > Thanks in advance for your responses to my question.
    > Best,
    > Harry
    > ------------------------------------
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