GUEST BLOG / By Paul Neilan, author of Hollywood Spiral via Grand Central--I won’t say noir. And not because I can’t bear any over-pronounced French since we lost Alex Trebeck. And not because the villains of my adolescence were always drenched in its Drakkar.
But because noir has rules, the same way irony does, and I really don’t know what they are.
There are factions who squabble over including hard-boiled detectives or excluding any hint of redemption, and those are arguments I want no part of. I’m not a purist, in any sense of the word.
For me it’s a voice and some dark stuff happening, something withheld, maybe a curl of smoke in there somewhere.
So I won’t say noir. And I can’t call this list Not Quite Noir, as google just told me that’s already been taken—multiple times—even though I was really proud of myself for thinking of it. Same with Not Not Noir, although that makes me less proud. Instead, I’ll say this is a list of voices with some darkness in them. A list that started with a definite theme, and then kind of took a turn. The way all lists do if you’re being honest with yourself. If the list is being honest with you.
PAUL NEILAN’S A LIST OF BOOKS THAT ARE NOT QUITE NOIR (BUT ALSO NOT NOT NOIR):
|Raymond Chandler avec chat noir|
The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler--It’s cheating to start with Chandler, but it would be a lie for me to go with anyone else. There’s a case to be solved and some intrigue along the way, but the back and forth between Marlowe and Terry Lennox is what does it for me. “Whatever his rules were he played by them.” You could ask for more, but I don’t know what, or why you’d want to.