Saturday, March 19, 2011

From the city of angels: Bangkok Noir

If you happen to be near the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand on April 2, why not drop in on a book signing for Bangkok Noir from Heaven Lake Press?

The collection's twelve short stories include contributions from John Burdett, Colin Cotterill, Timothy Hallinan, Pico Iyer and others, Thai and non-Thai. (See the complete contents here.)

Here are some excerpts from Christopher G. Moore's introduction:

"The potential list of subjects is long, but the stories in this collection will give more than a few insights into the Thai noir world. The idea of the national sport, Muay Thai — a combination of ballet, boxing, kicking and kneeing — is pure noir." [Take note, Christa Faust.]

"If noir is looking a little tired in the West, in Thailand it has all the energy and courage of a kid from upcountry who thinks the Khmer tattoos on his body will stop bullets."

"[A] stab in the heart of noir darkness suggests that while many Thais embrace the materialistic aspects of modern Western life, the spiritual and sacred side draws upon Thai myths, legends and customs, and remains resistant to the imported mythology of the West. In the tension between the show of gold, the Benz, the foreign trips and designer clothes, and the underlying belief system creates an atmosphere that stretches people between opposite poles."
======
Here's my interview with Timothy Hallinan. Christopher G. Moore needs no introduction, but I wrote one anyway, for his most recent book.

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

Labels: , , , , , , ,

40 Comments:

Blogger Dana King said...

Thanks for making me aware of this. The NOIR anthologies have been, to me, somewhat uneven, but the city chosen and the writers included make this one merit notice.

March 19, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

I really like Hallinan.

March 19, 2011  
Blogger C.B. James said...

Alas, I won't be in Bangkok, but this anthology looks promising. I've several of the Noir series on my short story shelf and have enjoyed them all so far.

March 19, 2011  
Blogger Jennifer Thomson said...

Christopher G Moore is the king of Thai crime fiction IMHO. Glad he's involved.

March 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dana and C.B. James: For your information, if it matters, this book is not part of Akashic Books' "(Fill in the location) Noir" series. I had thought Akashic had already published a Bangkok Noir volume, but it apparently has not.

I have several of the Akashic collections as well as this book and a non-Akashic Paris Noir.

March 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I.J., I put Hallinan's Breathing Water on my year's-best list for its year. Now I should read his latest, which was shortlisted for the best-novel Edgar award.

March 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

C.B., John Burdett's contribution to the collection is a ghost story that works. Moore's remark about spirituality is apparently not just mumbo-jumbo.

March 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Jennifer, the collection is apparently Moore's project. He edited it and wrote the introduction, he contributed one of the stories, and the publisher is his publisher.

I've read several of the Vincent Calvino novels. Moore's "cultural detective" attitude is unique in ctrime fiction, as far as I know.

March 19, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

And a great introduction it was too. How do I know? Cos I just read it.

March 19, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Dana

I'm wondering what happened to the plans for a Belfast Noir...the time would seem right but I think the book got killed.

March 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I thank you for that gracious prelude to my introduction.

Was Belfast Noir supposed to be part of the Akashic series?

March 19, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Next time get me to write the introduction to your introduction.

March 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

If I get asked to write enough introductions that someone wants to collect them in a volume, you can write a foreword. Unless, of course, you'd prefer a preface.

March 19, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Seems like a lot of work, I'll just do the epigraph.

Incidentally we just got a flyer about the local Purim review which is always pretty good. This year its called Anchors Oy Vey, a slight come down from last year's classic The Thirty Nine Schleps.

March 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

OK, I need someone to coordinate all prefatory matter.

Anchors Oy Vey is more than a slight comedown from The Thirty-Nine Schleps, I'm Afraid.

March 19, 2011  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I think whoever writes the Purim fliers in Adrian's city has a good Jewish wit, enough to cause some laughs, and a few "oy veys," at the corniness--fine with me.

Will send this on to a few relatives who will laugh.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

I've been to Bangkok, but I've only read John Burdett so far, and must correct this lapse. Oh, and Pico Iyer, but I don't really think of him as a crime fiction writer. At all. (Though I love his writing.)

March 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I tried for a few minutes to come up with something as good as "The Thirty-Nine Schleps," but I could not. I tried for just a few minutes, but I did try.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I don't think this book goes as hard after non-writers as some of the Akashic volumes do, but it does range beyond the traditional somewhat. I have not read Pico Iyer's story, but he sure is an intriguing choice.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Well, I do hope his noir does not go as far as to include his BFF, the Dalai Lama.

v word= foesses. Which is kind of stretching a point.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Foesses and Femmes Fatales." Now, there's a title for a collection of short stories.

I haven't read Pico Iyer's story yet and, while spirits do figure in John Burdett's, nothing I've read yet has included murdering monks and lamas.

What's a BFF?

March 20, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Best friends forever.

new v word:fightho. You could read that two ways...

March 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Whoa, and either way packs a punch.

Some people get all the good v-words.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Yeah, but at least I share.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm old enough remember rare references to female professional golfers as proettes, and I love the references in P.G. Wodehouse stories to a bishop's wife as the lady bishopess. Foess is far better than the first and almost as good as the second. It sounds like the female counterpart to Lex Luther or the Joker.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

I don't remember proette, but probably should. It's funny that '-ess' is so much more dignified than '-ette'.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That because -ette is a diminutive form amd sounds dismissive. That's why we have the duke and duchess, but not the duke and duchette.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That because -ette is a diminutive form and sounds dismissive. That's why we have the duke and duchess, but not the duke and duchette.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Right, I knew it was diminutive, but I wonder why it sounds so dimininutive. It's just the difference of a consonant sound. I know it's associative, but it's pretty powerful. Goddess versus goddette, for instance.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Origin of -ESS
Middle English -esse, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin -issa, from Greek


Origin of -ETTE
French, feminine diminutive suffix, from Old French -ete — more at -et


Definition of -ET
: small one
Origin of -ET
Middle English, from Anglo-French -et, masculine, & -ete, feminine, from Late Latin -itus & -ita


Well, -ess seems ultimately to be derived from Greek, so the proverbially soft Latinate influence might be less. I think English speakers also regard words that end in consonants as stronger than ones that end in vowels.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Right, so doesn't -ette seem like it would have a stronger connotation than -ess?

Of course, there are always the rockettes to muddy the waters.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, final consonants are stronger to an English speaker than final vowels. But the sibilant sound of -ess might undercut the strength that strength. And the vowel ending of -ette is silent, or almost silent, in English. So never mind.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

It's so silent that I didn't even think of it.

March 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Silent Vowels" -- can you ever feel safe again?

March 20, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Probably note...

March 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Aha!

March 20, 2011  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Definitely lioness connotes strength, but lionette? Never.

March 28, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I guess a lionette is handy when one has no room for a full-size lioness.

March 28, 2011  
Blogger Timothy Hallinan said...

Hi, Peter, and thanks for calling the collection to people's attention.

For some reason it's not available on Amazon or B&N yet, but I'm sure it will be soon. (Right, Chris?)

And VERY belated thanks for picking BREATHING WATER as one of your favorites for 2009. This is actually the first I've known of it, or I would have thanked you a lot earlier.

April 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"And VERY belated thanks for picking BREATHING WATER as one of your favorites for 2009."

Eh, no rush.

April 02, 2011  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home