arah Weinman had a good interlocutor for Wednesday's launch of Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s and the 1950s
, newly out from the Library of America and edited by Weinman. Her questioner was Megan Abbott, and between them, they talked not just about the eight writers in the collection, but about the audience for those writers, about the world in which they wrote, about the reception for their work, about their equivocal place in the crime fiction canon, and about how the collection was put together. And they did it all without polemics.
Among the provocative notions that emerged: Abbott's suggestion that women may be better suited to writing noir than men because, while men believe that they can make a difference, and hence tend to write stories in which redemption plays a role, "I don't think any woman ever believes that." Now, a statement like that, broadcast in the wrong circles to the wrong people (the brainless kind), could obviously draw much flak.
Here, though, while Abbott's remark send a flurry of excitement through the audience (they packed the house at New York's Mysterious Bookshop), the idea served to stimulate discussion, to be revised, argued, and defended as necessary. That's what intelligent, interested people do, and it was a pleasure to spend a couple of hours among them.
Sarah Weinman will talk about Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, whose novel The Blank Wall
is part of Eight Women Crime Writers, on a panel I'll moderate at Bouchercon 2015
in Raleigh, N.C. The panel is called "Beyond Hammett, Chandler, Spillane, and Macdonald," and happens Thursday, Oct. 8, at 2:30 p.m.
© Peter Rozovsky 2015
Labels: Bouchercon 2015, Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, Library of America, Megan Abbott, My Bouchercon 2015 panels, Mysterious Bookshop, Sarah Weinman