Thursday, April 12, 2012

What I'm about to read on my sort-of vacation

I'm off to Boston tomorrow accompanied by Ciaran Carson, Cú Chulainn, Thomas Pynchon and, in case I get too cheerful, Dead Man Upright, part of Melville House's new editions of Derek Raymond's Factory novels.

I'll read Pynchon's Inherent Vice curious about why he chose the hard-boiled-detective form to tell a story set in the psychedelic 1960s and, according to a cover blurb, about the end of an era. (Reviewers call the novel noir, but I assume that most people who call a crime story noir really mean hard-boiled. If I'm wrong in this case, I'll say so.)

There's no such doubt about Derek Raymond. He's noir, and I've heard tell that next to Dead Man Upright, his previous bleak, funny, touching Factory novels are light entertainment.

Here's some of what I've written about Raymond:
"He was a latter-day Hammett, I thought when I read Derek Raymond's I Was Dora Suarez. He was a new Chandler, I thought when I read the opening chapters of  The Devil's Home on Leave.

"With one novel-plus of Raymond under my belt, I say he's a bit of both. His nameless detective-sergeant protagonist is as dedicated to his job as was Sam Spade or the Continental Op, and he yearns like Philip Marlowe, only there's not a trace of nostalgia about him. He's as hard and as heart-breaking as the best of the dark crime writers who followed him and who invoke his name as reverently as they do Hammett's and Chandler's."

And here's some of what you'll find about Derek Raymond on the Melville House Web site.

© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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Blogger Ray Garraty said...

The Pynchon is good but it's not noir.

April 13, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I thought not. Nothing I had heard about the book had led me to suspect it was noir, and some things I had heard led to suspect it had the things people wrongly think of as signalling noir: a private detective and a Los Angeles setting.

But maybe, I thought, just maybe, it has the bleak fatalism, the hoplessness, and the resignation of true noir. Again, if it does, I'll say so.

April 13, 2012  

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