RARA-AVIS: Noir -- Penzler, Kerry, Brian, Jack and MRT

From: Jack Bludis (buildsnburns@yahoo.com)
Date: 19 Aug 2010

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    Ron Clinton says of Fred Zackel's "Think with their Willie" argument:

    >>Not to be argumentative, but does that mean any book that features a female protagonist cannot be considered noir?

    >>What about Vicki Hendricks' work? What about Megan Abbot's work? Like Christa Faust's MONEY SHOT, most (all?) of the books from these authors (and others, I suspect) feature female protagonists. Does that exclude them from a noir classification?<<

    I think not, but thinking with carnal desire is the same thing.

    The three he mentions are clearly the top of the heap of noir and near noir writers.

    I contend that Vicki is the only one of the group who writes true noir. At least from what I've read of their work.

    Megan Abbot writes about women who are not quite screwed because they are smart enough get into the mess but are smart enough to handle themselves and to make a least some right decisions that keep them from death.

    Christa Faust, at least in "Money Shot," is totally anti-noir. Don't screw with her protag or she'll cut your balls off. To me, the only female character in fiction that even qualifies as anti-noir is Steig Larsson's Lizbeth Salander.

    Willie or no Willie, the character has to sink deeper and deeper into a living hell, the way Vicki's lead does in "Miami Purity."

    But, of course, I have a very narrow definition of noir.




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