Hilda's Big Day Out offers four gut- and heart-wrenching slabs of noir, including the title story, which is atypical in at least two ways: It has an arguably happy ending, and its narrator is a dog.
Of the remaining tales, "Bye Bye Baby," which gave rise to Guthrie's novella of the same name, may wring tears of pity from even the hardest-hearted reader. Like David Goodis' novel Cassidy's Girl, its noirness inheres not in a tragic ending, but rather in an inconclusive sort of non-ending. Not every tragedy has the easy out of catharsis or death. Sometimes the nightmare just goes on.
© Peter Rozovsky 2012