Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir and Randisi's response to Penzler, Kerry, Brian, Jack and MRT

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 16 Sep 2010

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    I liken reading good noir fiction to listening to both sides of Bruce Springsteen's classic DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN. Even thought you start out hopeful ("Badlands" on side 1 and "The Promised Land" on side 2), in the end, you know that Life/Fate/God/Buddha/The Universe is going to intervene, grind these folks down, and leave them with stark, Jungian moments of clarity (as crystalized in the gorgeous, forlorn "Racing in the Streets" and
    "Darkness on the Edge of Town," the songs that end each side respectively).

    Or, if you prefer, pick the blues tune of your choice. Someone somewhere put it more artfully than I ever could: it's music that makes you "feel so good about feelin' so bad."

    When it's done well, that's what keeps me reading noir fiction.


    On Thu, Sep 16, 2010 at 2:18 AM, Eric Chambers <> wrote:

    > RJR says:
    > > If the key to Noir is that the "protag" comes to a tragic
    > > end, where's the suspense? Doesn't there have to be a ghost
    > > of a chance that he might prevail? <
    > This has got me thinking.
    > The joy of reading Noir is in the writer's storytelling.
    > You should never be able to see exactly what's coming, even though you know
    > what kind of ending there will inevitably be.
    > Sort of like a chess game or the sweet pain of watching your football team
    > play their heart out and still lose. The character and the situation have to
    > be belivable. The central character in Noir isn't an out and out villian
    > like Hannibal Lector, otherwise the reader is not going to care.
    > It's a little like watching a collision between two cars. It's that thing
    > about your mind going
    > into slow motion while you are watching.
    > I'm probably not making much sense.
    > Eric
    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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


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