RARA-AVIS: Re: Slapstick-Silly Noir

From: Charlie Williams (cs_will@hotmail.com)
Date: 19 Jun 2009

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    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Burton Smith <kvnsmith@...> wrote:
    > Which
    > is why, I think, so few of them mention humour initially, and it's
    > rarely mentioned as a big selling point in blurbs (Al's HARD MAN being
    > an exception, evidently). They like to be thought of as writing tough,
    > hard-boiled stories, not Pythoneque parody. Among the faithful, they'd
    > rather be compared to Jim Thompson than John Cleese.But the parody
    > defense is always close by, just in case.

    Could this be because of the relatively lowly status of comedy within the book world? We all love a laugh (in books), but the word "comedy" on a book cover seems like a risky thing. Maybe it's because TV and film is the traditional stamping ground of comedy? TV and film require less of an investment from the consumer so he can go along expecting entertainment and nothing besides. But with a book, there had better be something worthy in it. If you can slip the laughs in too, the reader is getting what he wants AND what he thinks he wants. Is there something to that?

    Mind you, I think you can get away with "black comedy" on a cover. That "black" really qualifies it.

    BTW, I just looked at the cover puff of my last book and it mentions "satirical humour", "slapstick" and "noir". No mention of "silly" though. Maybe that's where they went wrong?


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