RARA-AVIS: Re: talking tough

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 02 Jun 2009

  • Next message: davezeltserman: "RARA-AVIS: Re: talking tough"

    Kerry wrote:

    > Narratives about the misdeeds of the commercially powerful are
    > perennially popular, but are there any new noir yarns that take
    > place in the milieu of low-skilled workers displaced in the shift
    > from an industrial to a service and information-based economy? Or
    > has noir been displaced by reality TV?

    Actually, I rather enjoyed FEAR THE WORST, our ol' pal Linwood Barclay's latest domestic noir (or whatever you call it).

    The protagonist is a used car salesman, circling the drain, whose seventeen year-old daughter disappears. Barclay doesn't quite hit all the noir buttons (he never gets quite thematically dark enough) but in the hands of a latter day Hitchcock or Dymytryk, this would make a really fine film noir. Maxing out your credit cards and possibly risking your job to fly across country to rescue your daughter? Priceless.

    It's a welcome change from Harlan Coben's similarly themed domestics which seem to be taking place in an increasingly UMC world. HOLD TIGHT, for example, has a surgeon/lawyer couple at its core. Maybe we could call that Huxtable noir.

    One of the problems some neo-noir writers seem to have is this patronizing theme that being working class or unemployed means having no class. Being unemployed doesn't necessarily automatically make you start saying "Fuck" every two words, or suddenly want to take a belt sander to your wife.

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