"Noir never goes out of style."
September 29, 2020 4:26 PM   Subscribe

For a century, it has defined an American ethos in which goodness most often remains unrewarded and justice is capricious if it is served at all. It’s a vernacular art, framed by the voices of the losers and those who stand outside the law. This is only as it should be, for the genre was never meant to stick around. Noir was originally published in pulp magazines or as dime-store paperback originals, and its longevity is a testament to its tenacity—everyone’s most necessary survival skill.
Alta Online explores noir.

Individual articles:
posted by Lexica (9 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm a detective fiction devotee yet every classic noir novel I've read I've enjoyed the movie more (except Double Indemnity, which was superb in both mediums). I think it's a genre that while originating as literature, was improved in film. Why, I couldn't say, but I bet someone has thought the same and written on it.

I'll be digging into these articles gratefully and gleefully, thank you!
posted by wellifyouinsist at 4:47 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


What If Philip Marlowe Fell in Love?

I'd at least like to see him play a game of chess against another person.
posted by thelonius at 5:17 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


well, I'm currently on a Ross MacDonald kick, so thanks for this.
posted by philip-random at 5:24 PM on September 29


Perry Mason proved that if you even shine the least amount of light on it, the darkness cannot hold. Truth always wins, even if it hurts a lot. Just admit you fell for it, and move on.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:28 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Ross MacDonald

The Chill was excellent. My favorite Ross MacDonald fact is that they got him to do an intervention on Warren Zevon.
posted by thelonius at 5:29 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


I always think of noir not so much that goodness goes unrewarded but that a basically good person tries to get away with something and is severely punished for it while sociopaths just get away with everything.
posted by Pembquist at 7:37 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Eight Noir Books That Nail the Genre Alta books editor David L. Ulin selects a collection of must-read (and reread) titles for every noir fan.

Great to see Dorothy B. Hughes mentioned. The Expendable Man is a great book and Hughes novels also deal very straight-on with issues of social justice - misogyny, racism, etc - which for her time put her way ahead of everybody else. She is also a great writer.

The book mentioned in the list In a Lonely Place, is as tight a thriller as I've ever read.
posted by vacapinta at 2:39 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Excellent set of links to dive into for one of my favorite fiction and movie genres, thanks!

One of my favorite of the recently written noirs is Dope by Sara Gran. Completely unexpected and good to the last page. She also writes the Claire DeWitt series, which I would say is noir adjacent.
posted by WhyamIhereagain at 3:48 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


No Woolrich? Aww horse apples.
posted by wyndham at 10:34 AM on September 30


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