RARA-AVIS: Re: Slapstick-Silly Noir

From: Charlie Williams (cs_will@hotmail.com)
Date: 17 Jun 2009

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    I always think of noir in the context of the pulps. Lurid, sensational. The best noir writers wrote sublime novels within those confines, still delivering on what the tacky cover promised. I love that. I see nothing wrong within marrying a dark night of the soul with belly laughs and OTTness. Humour and noir go hand in hand because the genre wants to entertain. Desperate times and OTT events also go hand in hand, perhaps.

    I took part in a panel in Paris a few weeks ago on this subject (the humour in noir side anyway, along with Colin Bateman and Colin Thibert). The consensus was that a bit of humour sugars the pill. Without humour, you might end up with a bleak novel that isn't enjoyable. Include humour and you can strike a balance. When the worst kind of shit happens in life, the funny side is what we often see. The absurd side.

    Like someone said here, the humour often just slips out. It is unintended and comes from the characters and the situation. Not always, but it's that way with me. Maybe that's because you've driven the poor protagonist to desperation and humour is the natural reaction.

    I would probably be a bit wary of an author who claimed to set out to write a funny noir book.

    Charlie Williams.

    ------------------- charliewilliams.net

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