Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir then, Noir now

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 22 Jun 2009

  • Next message: "Re: RARA-AVIS: HOT ROCK and BLACK ICE"


    The oft-quoted line from Eddie Muller is:

    "Your protagonist is fucked on page one, and things go downhill from there."

    Yer Pal-


    On Sun, Jun 21, 2009 at 7:29 AM, Jack Bludis <> wrote:

    > I suppose this all falls into the "slapstick silly" discussion.
    > I believe that in the noir that defined the genre, there was an arc of
    > interest and action. Paraphrasing Eddie Muller, the protagonist starts in a
    > hole and digs himself or herself deeper--he said it much better than that
    > but I've had only a few hours sleep, so I don't remember the words exactly.
    > Of the newer writers' books, Vicki Hendricks' MIAMI PURITY fits the old
    > profile perfectly.
    > Too much of the noir I have read recently has no ongoing story, is more a
    > series of action and violent confrontations--episodic. This happens, then
    > that happens, and then all hell breaks lose and the protagonists fails--or
    > doesn't fail and life goes on. To me, there seems to be no real
    > build-up--just a startling opening followed by mildly related violence, if
    > related at all, leading to the story's end.
    > At the opening is the slapstick that gets the story started. By slapstick I
    > mean just something so weird that it's funny. Very often it continues
    > through until the novel ends. Usually, it does not come to a conclusion.
    > Sometimes, the protag is not even screwed, but just has come to the end of a
    > bloody trail, suffering some loss. In the best, it loss of life or freedom.
    > Others just end. Most: "Dark and Sinister?" Yes. "Screwed?" Occasionally.
    > That's my take.
    > Jack Bludis
    > Read, read, read. Write, write, write.

    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 22 Jun 2009 EDT