Noir

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Noir [Read] ➪ Noir Author Robert Coover – Polishdarling.co.uk Here Coover is at the top of his form and Noir is a true page turner wry, absurd, and desolateYou are Philip M Noir, Private Investigator A mysterious young widow hires you to find her husband s kille Here Coover is at the top of his form and Noir is a true page turner wry, absurd, and desolateYou are Philip M Noir, Private Investigator A mysterious young widow hires you to find her husband s killer if he was killed Then your client is killed and her body disappears if she was your client Your search for clues takes you through all levels of the city, from classy lounges to lowlife dives, from jazz bars to a rich sex kitten s bedroom, from yachts to the morgue The Case of the Vanishing Black Widow unfolds over five days aboveground and three or four in smugglers tunnels, though flashback and anecdote, and expands time into something much larger You don t always get the joke, though most people think what s happening is pretty funny.

  • ebook
  • 224 pages
  • Noir
  • Robert Coover
  • English
  • 21 February 2018
  • 1590204557

About the Author: Robert Coover

Born Robert Lowell Coover in Charles City, Iowa, Coover moved with his family early in his life to Herrin, Illinois, where his father was the managing editor for the Herrin Daily Journal Emulating his father, Coover edited and wrote for various school newspapers under the nom de plume Scoop He was also his high school class president, a school band member, and an enthusiastic supporter of the Cincinnati Reds In Coover enrolled in Southern Illinois University, and, after transferring to Indiana University in , earned his bachelor s degree in with a major in Slavonic languages While in college, he continued editing student papers, as well as working part time for his father s newspaper The day he graduated, Coover received his draft notice and went on to serve in the US Naval Reserve during the Korean War, attaining the rank of lieutenant Upon his discharge in , Coover devoted himself to fiction During the summer of that year, he spent a month sequestered in a cabin near the Canadian border, where he studied the work of Samuel Beckett and committed himself to writing serious avant garde fiction In , he travelled to Spain, where he reunited with Maria del Pilar Sans Mallafr , whom he had earlier met while serving a military tour in Europe The couple married in and spent the summer touring southern Europe by motorcycle, an experience he described in One Summer in Spain Five Poems, his first published work Between and , Coover studied at the University of Chicago, eventually receiving his master s degree in The Coovers lived in Spain for most of the early s, a time during which Coover began regularly publishing stories in literary magazines, including the Evergreen Review In , after the couple returned to the United States, Coover took a teaching position at Bard College in New York He also published his first novel, The Origin of the Brunists , which won the William Faulkner Award for best first novel In , Coover won a Rockefeller Foundation grant and published Pricksongs and Descants, his first collection of short fiction That year, he also wrote, produced, and directed a movie, On a Confrontation in Iowa City Coover has maintained an interest in film throughout his career During the early s, Coover published only short stories and drama, including A Theological Position , a collection of one act plays, all of which were eventually produced for the stage He also won Guggenheim fellowships in and , and served as fiction editor for the Iowa Review from to By the mid s, Coover had finished his next novel, The Public Burning it took himthan two years to find a publisher for the work, which was ultimately cited as a National Book Award nominee Coover received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in and a Rea Award for A Night at the Movies , a collection of short stories While Coover concentrated primarily on short fiction with the exception of Gerald s Party during the s, he produced a series of new novels during the s Coover has taught at a number of universities, including the University of Iowa, Columbia University, Princeton University, and Brandeis University, throughout his career Since he has been a writer in residence and faculty member of the creative writing program at Brown UniversityAmong the vanguard of American postmodern writers to come of age during the late s, Coover is respected as a vital experimentalist whose challenging work continues to offer insight into the nature of literary creation, narrative forms, and cultural myths Convinced early in his career that traditional fictional modes were exhausted, Coover has pioneered a variety of inventive narrative techniques, notably complex metafictional structures and ludic pastiches of various genres to satirize contemporary American society and the role of the author In this wa.



10 thoughts on “Noir

  1. Paul Paul says:

    3.75 stars rounded up.My first Coover and where to start Well the title does give it away it is an exploration of the Noir genre send up, satire, tribute, a general culling of tropes This is written in the second person which fits the type and the protagonist Philip M M for Marlowe perhaps Noir is suitably sleazy, drunk and beaten up on a regular basis He has a smart secretary and a mysterious, veiled female client The City is dreary, run down and mainly experienced at nights there is 3.75 stars rounded up.My first Coover and where to start Well the title does give it away it is an exploration of the Noir genre send up, satire, tribute, a general culling of tropes This is written in the second person which fits the type and the protagonist Philip M M for Marlowe perhaps Noir is suitably sleazy, drunk and beaten up on a regular basis He has a smart secretary and a mysterious, veiled female client The City is dreary, run down and mainly experienced at nights there is a docks obviously there are corrupt police officers there is a Mr Big there are bars and eating houses that are suitably seedy there are mysterious tramps there are sultry singers who seem to find Noir irresistible As well as playing with the genre I think Coover also indulges in a little teenage wish fulfilmentof that later.Coover, when it comes to creating ambience, words and sentences is clearly a craftsman Much of noir is very cleverly done It is difficult to work out timescales The novel takes place over the period of about a week Time is rather fluid and there are nods to Greek myth with the labyrinth underground where Noir spends a rather hazy amount of time The plot itself is also rather hazy with plenty of gaps However one of the characters does rather sum up the point of this technique I have found, Mr Noir, that if you make a story with gaps in it, people just step in to fill them up, they can t help themselves Noir himself is not likeable a concoction of cynicism, ignorance and the inability to detect himself out of a paper bag He gets hit on the head and half killed several times The female characters all seem to want to put him back together and to bed him and not just the real women The scene with the mannequins just about sums up Noir In the dusty penumbral light, there s an eerie sensuality about them with their angular provocative poses, their hard glossy surfaces, their somnambulant masklike faces, features frozen in glacial eyeless gazes In short, not unlike most of the women you have known The female characters vary between those who look after mother Noir Blanche , even to the extent of dressing and feeding him, and whores some of them are caregivers as well when he has been beaten up The little, though not unexpected, twist at the end just confirms that the female characters are the ones with warmth and intelligence As always with Coover there is a caveat the fate of Michiko, although only a minor character, sums up the objectification and possession of women with the subsequent abandonment and destruction once past youth and usefulness I would like to see how he addresses gender over a series of books the Noir genre was always going to be atypical I suspect.There are a great many nods towards film the mannequins are straight from a Kubrik film and the mirror shoot out from Orson Welles The convoluted plot is pure Chandler The review in the Spectator points out that the effect of Noir is very similar to the Robert Montgomery film Lady in the Lake In the film Marlowe is effectively played by the camera The effect here is very similar.Summing up is difficult, partly because I think Coover is a writer who cannot be summed up in one book and this is tenuously the last in a trilogy and he is playing serious and thought provoking games What I haven t decided yet is whether Coover in his exploring genres is just giving the impression of the flaws in the order of things and cracks in establishment, or is he putting those impressions into somethingconcrete in terms of ideas I can t assess that from one book Reviews have tended to be positive and I have seen it described as Dieselpunk whatever that is and I can see it will attract fans of Noir fiction I think I may have started at the wrong end of Coover s work and as he is someone who has worked in many genres, judging from one alone is impossible

  2. Algernon (Darth Anyan) Algernon (Darth Anyan) says:

    9 10She looked like trouble and the smart thing probably would have been to send her packing But the rent has to be paid, you don t have enough business to turn down anyone And besides, you like her legs So, instead, even though you knew her story before you heard it, the inevitable chronicle of sex, money, betrayal what the f__k is the matter with the world anyway , you asked her to tell it From the beginning, you said Welcome to the Case of the Vanishing Black Widow, Robert Coover s 9 10She looked like trouble and the smart thing probably would have been to send her packing But the rent has to be paid, you don t have enough business to turn down anyone And besides, you like her legs So, instead, even though you knew her story before you heard it, the inevitable chronicle of sex, money, betrayal what the f__k is the matter with the world anyway , you asked her to tell it From the beginning, you said Welcome to the Case of the Vanishing Black Widow, Robert Coover s homage of a sorts to the genre made famous by the likes of James M Cain, Dashiell Hammett, Jim Thompson or Raymond Chandler The intention is clear from the opening scene of the femme fatale entering the dingy office of the down on his luck detective as though bringing on the night Or dragging it in her wake , andso from the writing on the glass door of said office Philip M Noir Private Investigations What follows next is not exactly your typical crime novel It does include all the classic genre tropes and hard boiled idiom captured expertly, but the building blocks are jumbled together, realigned, examined from outside and turned inside out until the result isof a distillation of the genre down to its essence like a perfume than an actual homage For one thing, the timeline of events is non linear and often deliberately confusing with characters dead in one chapter and active several pages later The plot is rich in mysterious, unexplained occurences and potential suspects read everybody The violence is endemic with characters being offed almost as soon as you get to meet them This struggle in the dark of the private detective to make sense of events as the number of dead bodies in the stories climbs higher and higher is not really unexpectedNothing seems to make sense, but why do you expect it toChandler and Hammett are experts themselves at thoroughly muddling the waters before the final reveals at the end of the novel With Coover, the mystery becomes a ritual dance with carefully coreographed steps and programmed music, as inevitable as an avalanche coming straight down the mountain towards you Like the actors in the other Coover novel I ve read earlier this year A Night At The Movies Philip M Noir is caught in a rigid mechanism and can only move like a tram in the direction of the already laid tracks These tracks being the genre conventions and the expectations of the genre fans You know plenty about being suck into stories that have already been told Every character in the story is familiar from classic novels and movies the femme fatale, the Big Boss, the cynical piano player, the drug dealer who is also a snitch, the aggravating and probably corrupt cop, the philosophical bartender, the harlot with the golden heart, the voluptuous jazz singer, the Fat Man impeccably dressed, the cocky and trigger happy henchman, the mousy and efficient secretary, the drunk and available jailbait heiress, assorted thugs and victims, and so on Coover delivers them mostly straight, with just a touch of absurd or over the top details to make the reader aware of the deconstructing game he is playing here High end toy soldiers, extensive tattoos on a Japanese lady or specialty doughnuts introduce some jarring notes in the predcitable progress of the story.If the story and the actors are easily recognizable, the one element that Coover liberates and twists in surprising directions is the scenery This technique is also something I already noticed in A Night At The Movies You feel like you are moving inthan three directions, doors are opening on different chambers every time you return to them, streets and alleys bend backwards, cellars communicate across the town The central element of the unnamed city is the ALLEY, just as the default time of day is the nightThe alley You can t say it s your home away from home, having no real home to be away from, but you know it well You ve spent serious time in it Have been mugged, chased, blown, asked for a light, beaten up, paid off, conned, dumped, supplied, scared shitless, given hot tips, shortchanged, shot at in here The city is alive and aware, as much a part of the story as the detective and his long list of suspectsHere s the principle The body is always sick Even when it s well, or thinks it is Cells are eating cells It s all about digestion Or indigestion What in the city we call corruption Eaters eating the eaten Mostly in the tumultuous dark It s a nasty fight to the finish and everybody loses Cities laid out on grids The grid s just an overlay Like graph paper The city itself, inside, is all roiling loops and curves Bubbling with a violent emptiness Coover is an exuberant stylist, scattering words and images in wild associations, a poet freestyling with the genre building blocks, rearranging them in unexpected patterns Through repetition and alliteration, we discover that noir is a mood, a state of mind, an atitudethan a recipe for writing a succesful crime story dark, danger, depressing, destitute, desolate, deadly, downbeat, denial, deception, depravity, done for, dirty, dingy, drifting, black, night, shadows, sombre, evil, empty, frustration, frivolous, fear, Here s an example of how the words come together to convey this mood indigoYou are moving through pools of wet yellow light, surrounded by a velvety darkness as soft as black silk stockings, and it is not the light but the obscurity that is most alluring The mystery of it The streets are deserted and, as you turn into them, kissed by the drifting fog, they open up before you, the buildings seeming to lean towards you, stuttery neon signs wink at you overhead Behind a steel chainlink fence in an empty playground, a child s swing creaks teasingly Somewhere there s a melancholic sigh of escaping steam It s beautiful to be walking down these lush wicked streets I mentioned Italo Calvino earlier, because I like to look at Coover as the American equivalent of the Italian artist Even if in his case the poetry is less whimsical and fanciful andbrutal, hard edged Bukovsky What made me think of Calvino and his novel If On A Winter Night A Traveller is the second person narrative common to both novels Noir is written in this YOU mode from start to finish, a difficult balancing act on the part of the writer, but very effective for the reader at leat in my case, since I noticed a few negative reviews for the book I wondered why I have this reaction to experimental novels that refuse to follow established rules of plot and timeline I believe it s because with this second person address the author is playing with me, making YOU an active element of the reading experienceI have found, Mr Noir, that if you make a story with gaps in it, people just step in to fill them up, they can t help themselvesSo You Me end up completing the actual story in your my mind, in between the written lines on the page.Final verdict a very good choice for fans of the genre who want to analyze and explore what makes a crime novel noir Approach with caution if you are not already familiar with the topic I am in the first category because my dreams are sometimes made of stuff like thisThis is what you love The gumshoe game Played alone on dark wet streets to the tune of the swell and fade of car horns, sirens, the sounds of breaking glass, cries in the street, the percussive punctuation of gunshots and shouted obscenities You love your own bitter misery, your knotted depression In short, you re a f__king romantic, Noir, as Joe the bartender likes to say A disease you medicate with booze, needing a dose now Cheers

  3. Mala Mala says:

    From the very first sentenceYou are at the morgue, Coover s choice of second person narration hits you like a bullet the pressure never really lets up because the YOU never leaves you the reader is made a witness, an accomplice How many thrillers employ that But it works in this highly stylised cinematic take on the private eye experience or rather eyeing the privates , involving the readers in its immediacy and as we walk the hazy landscapes of seedy bars, wet slippery alleyways, From the very first sentenceYou are at the morgue, Coover s choice of second person narration hits you like a bullet the pressure never really lets up because the YOU never leaves you the reader is made a witness, an accomplice How many thrillers employ that But it works in this highly stylised cinematic take on the private eye experience or rather eyeing the privates , involving the readers in its immediacy and as we walk the hazy landscapes of seedy bars, wet slippery alleyways, lush wicked streets, labyrinthine underground tunnels, menacing dockyard, the city as bellyache so on, it becomes hard to separate Noir s disturbing dream world from its nightmarish reality.Noir is very moody atmospheric, kind of Sin City ambience Coover really rocks it but the effect can get a bit hallucinatory, eg, that erotic dream sequence with the severed hand or that scene with the manikins, that s classic Coover Other highlights would include Michiko her tattooed body, Noir in a pair of pink silk panties with little flowers stitched on them , mis adventures with sex kittens, etc Noir would make a fantastic movie though the book itself tips its fedora to several classic moments in cinema.As Robbe Grillet turned the detective genre upside down in The Erasers, here Coover employs all the cliches of noir makes them respectable with his brilliant writing Highly recommended Worth reading Robert Coover discusses Noir Noir uses second person narration as opposed to the first person, a prevalent trait in hardboiled fiction Was this decision a way to not only immediately envelop the reader in the murky world of our titular hero, Philip M Noir, but to also subtly subvert the expectations of the reader Another part of that ongoing conversation was the 1980s 1990s Gerald s Party John s Wife sequence While the idea for Noir was still germinating, before it had partnered up with the as yet unwritten Ghost Town, I saw it vaguely as a possible third book of a trilogy, and as Gerald s Party is in first person and John s Wife in third, the idea of using the second person in the third story naturally occurred to me But that was only a trivial formal reason that provoked a few lines and set the tone, and the use of it as part of a trilogy was soon abandoned But the second person narrative idea stuck Even if it s only Noir talking to himself, the second person creates a compelling immediacy, a being thereness that blurs the distance between narrator and reader, and I found that appealing and sometimes usefully disturbing Noir looks out on the world seeking answers, understanding, needing to know through your eyes, and you, also a quester, look out through his Somewhat like the occasional use of the subjective camera in noir movies, and it resonates with those movies frequent voice over monologues

  4. Ian "Marvin" Graye Ian "Marvin" Graye says:

    Nwah, Dahling A modest, if twisted, homage to the classic roman noir designed and recommended for the titillation of heavy thinking undergrad philosophy students view spoiler the drama of cognition hide spoiler and Playboy readers view spoiler the melodrama of coition hide spoiler A Portrait of the Artist as a CulpritSoon after you first hung up your shingle as a private dick, a beautiful woman, far out of your league, climbed the stairs in her high heels and knocked coyly on your do Nwah, Dahling A modest, if twisted, homage to the classic roman noir designed and recommended for the titillation of heavy thinking undergrad philosophy students view spoiler the drama of cognition hide spoiler and Playboy readers view spoiler the melodrama of coition hide spoiler A Portrait of the Artist as a CulpritSoon after you first hung up your shingle as a private dick, a beautiful woman, far out of your league, climbed the stairs in her high heels and knocked coyly on your door You called out for her to come in, all the time keeping your feet on the desk, your hands clenched behind your neck, and your trousers on After all, you hadn t met her yet The hall light formed a shapely silhouette on the glass panel in the door, which was soon followed by her entrance She sat down on the chair opposite you It was lower than the chair you were sitting on Her legs went right up to your expectations.Mr Noir, I d like to speak to you about my husband He s been murdered When did it happen Last night We had only just finished dinner About eight Then I saw a man in the garden, and my husband went outside to confront him There were harsh words, and suddenly I heard a gun explode My husband fell to the ground and was dead by the time I got to his side.What did the killer do then He ran back up the path and straight out the front gate, which was open at the time I can still hear the sound of his shoes on the gravel.Did you recognise him No, I d never seen him before.You weren t sure whether she was telling the truth, but it was too early in the conversation to discuss wills and insurance policies.Did you get a good look at him Could you give me a description of his face Yes I think so.You took down notes feverishly as she responded to your questions.Wait here while I go next door My partner is a sketch artist.By the time you returned, she had gone, the only trace that she had ever been in your office was a bundle of C notes on your desk It would have beenthan enough for you to take her out for a fancy steak frites dinner at Entrecote.You showed your partner the notes you had taken and he commenced a sketch with effortless ease He had worked for the police for 38 years before being forcibly retired after an indiscretion with a new female detective He was experiencing some tough times and had asked you if he could sub lease a room.Despite his ease, a line of sweat trickled down your partner s brow Luckily, it fell on the desk to the side of his sketch, which remained pristine.A clear portrait emerged quickly It never ceased to amaze you how sketch artists can create something out of almost nothing You looked back and forth from your notes to the sketch to your partner It was a good likeness, but you couldn t check it against your client s recollection of the murderer, and you didn t know when or if she d be back.Your partner wiped his brow with his handkerchief, and resumed working Evidently, he wasn t finished yet He drew a gun, then he pointed it at your head, said I m sorry it had to be you, and pulled the trigger

  5. Rayroy Rayroy says:

    A Review Written in One Sentence Written with the rapid fire of a Tommy Gun, being fired long after the sun has gone in a dark and nameless city, streets and hidden unmapped alleyways, full of crooked cops, bums, whores, thieves, skimmers, pimps, hit men, pity criminals, career criminals, a city made for Noir, with its muted colors and rain, flophouses, dive and lounge bars with the same female singer nightly, pool halls, and hidden tunnels and passageways underneath the pavement, Robert Co A Review Written in One Sentence Written with the rapid fire of a Tommy Gun, being fired long after the sun has gone in a dark and nameless city, streets and hidden unmapped alleyways, full of crooked cops, bums, whores, thieves, skimmers, pimps, hit men, pity criminals, career criminals, a city made for Noir, with its muted colors and rain, flophouses, dive and lounge bars with the same female singer nightly, pool halls, and hidden tunnels and passageways underneath the pavement, Robert Coover , much like Thomas Pynchon did with Inherent Vice tries his hand at hard boiled noir fiction with Noir ,true to the genre then Inherent Vice though Inherent Vice was so much then Pynchon doing noir , well surfing and surf music, a lot of pot smoking for one what I mean is booth books are written by post modern masters for lack of better words writers who write in their own styles, and mix and mash many other styles, though Thomas Pynchon can go from many different styles in just a few pages, Coover a few in a every book, but this isn t a comparison between two authors just they both wrote Noir novels around the same time, look just read the book, it s a quick read that s darkly comical, a wise cracking good time, or don t read it what do I car, for some reason I could go for a donut right about now

  6. Mike Mike says:

    Have you ever finished a book and put it down thinking that you weren t sure what exactly happened but that you kind of liked it Such was my experience with Robert Coover s Noir Noir is nominally a mystery though it is surrealistic and amorphous one much like a particularly vivid dream This dream perspective is perhaps aided by second person narration that puts the reader in the drivers seat but neglects to provide them with steering wheel, gas pedal, or break.The narration elevates Noir to Have you ever finished a book and put it down thinking that you weren t sure what exactly happened but that you kind of liked it Such was my experience with Robert Coover s Noir Noir is nominally a mystery though it is surrealistic and amorphous one much like a particularly vivid dream This dream perspective is perhaps aided by second person narration that puts the reader in the drivers seat but neglects to provide them with steering wheel, gas pedal, or break.The narration elevates Noir to a novel that you don t just read but one that you experience The perverse and the beautiful collide alongside the serious and the ridiculous It is a curious effect that often times makes the novel stirring, funny, and horrific often all in the same seen In one particularly lengthy scene Coover describes the use of a prostitute as a message board between two rival gang leaders as the two trade insults via tattoos adding new ones or modifying old ones There is a certain perverse humor in a women who ended up a tattooed from crown to toes with layers of exotic overwritten graffiti, a veritable yakuza textbook, slang dictionary, and art gallery, a condition that served her well in her subsequent career, once the museum, which claimed ownership of her, was paid off she was worth a C note just for an hour of library time Of course there is a certain amount undeniable horror to literal objectification, from person to art, a horror that is fully realized in her final fate which I won t spoil natch.Nothing in Noir has a real name Everyone isor less defined by the role they play in the story Flame is a love interest Rats is an informant Blue is a policeman This isn t always the case and it isn t always obvious though the cleverly named Fat Agnes a play on ignis fatuus is my particular favorite of the bunch Even our title character, Phillip M Noir, is a kind of obvious choice almost exactly what we would expect Except not quite That last a bit difficult to explain and I think I ll leave it by saying that every is and isn t exactly what they seem.Time and place are nigh on malleable entities The mystery elements of Noir have a distinct progression but it is a progression that obfuscated by constant shifts in time that frequently left me slightly confused as to when exactly we were The city of Noir is, to borrow a bit from Stephen King, the apotheosis of every noir hard boiled city you ve ever seen As Coover illustrates in a particularly humorous passage it involved masturbating in subway passages a city that is both the coquettish yet unattainable lover, friend, and frequent opponent A confusing mess personified yet strangely indifferent to our hero s trials and tribulations The city has a maze of alleys prowled by a homeless one that Noir appeases by carrying offerings of trinkets, baubles and junk the comprise a landscape all their own and is connected by a seemingly endless labyrinth of smuggler s tunnels that go wherever you need them to go All of this gives the setting a curiously mythic feel.Noir is a singular novel familiar in its use of familiar tropes from hardboiled fiction and noir film countless readers and viewers have come to know and enjoy yet curiously alien in its simultaneously literal and symbolic characters, its solid yet shifting settings, its precise if disjointed use of time, and its mystery that is both resolved yet left open with half asked questions whispering in the background It was not an easy read, particularly since I ve been really busy, but a surprisingly rewarding read that deservedtime and consideration than I have been able to give it I will be keeping an eye on future titles from Robert Coover and while he is a bit outside of what I typically read I certainly enjoyed the challenge Noir offered

  7. John Hood John Hood says:

    Bound SunPost Weekly March 11, 2010http www.sunpostweekly.com 2010 03 Noir Sung BlueRobert Coover Gets with His Inner GumshoeJoHn HoodYou read a lot of hard boiled fiction Maybe even a little too much The kinda little too much Cocteau called just enough You cut your teeth on Chandler and Hammett and James M Cain Learned to crack wise through Mickey Spillane You got your dark view of the world from Jim Thompson Consider yourself an authority on El Leonard And you ve spent a go Bound SunPost Weekly March 11, 2010http www.sunpostweekly.com 2010 03 Noir Sung BlueRobert Coover Gets with His Inner GumshoeJoHn HoodYou read a lot of hard boiled fiction Maybe even a little too much The kinda little too much Cocteau called just enough You cut your teeth on Chandler and Hammett and James M Cain Learned to crack wise through Mickey Spillane You got your dark view of the world from Jim Thompson Consider yourself an authority on El Leonard And you ve spent a good chunk of a hard life alongside walk alones like Travis McGee, Hoke Mosley, Harry Bosch and Elvis Cole.You prefer alleys to main drags, suits to denim, highballs to beer You speak fast, think once and never apologize, no matter how wrong they say you are You ve got swollen knuckles, a tin ear and a chip on your shoulder that s been around so long it s got a name.When you heard word that Robert Coover had gotten with his inner gumshoe, you weren t mad In fact, you were pleased by the news You saw that he called his experiment Noir, and you said What else And when you got the book in your hands, you didn t put it down until you d reached The End.You didn t mind that the antihero s name was Philip M Noir because you know it comes from the best You didn t care that the bad guy was called Mr Big, the alley cat was christened Rats, or that Noir had the hots for a dame named Flame You were even somewhat charmed by the fact that her lovers were called moths You dug the stuttering neon, the puddled shadows, the holstered heaters And you knew what was coming when the veiled widow showed up in need of a peeper Tomorrow was gonna be black and blue, and you couldn t wait.In truth, the whole book is a bruise, punctuated by dead bodies, and it smarts You wouldn t have wanted it any other way And since you too have been sucked into stories that have already been told, you already knew how hard would be to step out of it But you also know that it s not the story you re trapped in, it s how you play it out Your style Class The moves you make You see that now, here, in Coover s shady strut through the dark damp night Just as you saw it then, in Chandler and Hammett and Cain You recognize the filthy, smoky, gloomy, rank as if it were an old friend You too have walked these streets, made these mistakes, lived these myths And you will continue reading these stories until there are nowords

  8. Ronald Morton Ronald Morton says:

    Well, let s start with the basics the book is not misnamed, it is in fact a work of noir, starring you oh, the book is in second person , a detective named Phillip M Noir middle name undisclosed, I m guessing it s the obvious one though , working on a case for an attractive yet mysterious widow Pretty much all tropes of noir both cinematic and literary are present, typically to hyperbolic excess The book revels in the black and white, heavily shadowed, visual motif prevalent in the noi Well, let s start with the basics the book is not misnamed, it is in fact a work of noir, starring you oh, the book is in second person , a detective named Phillip M Noir middle name undisclosed, I m guessing it s the obvious one though , working on a case for an attractive yet mysterious widow Pretty much all tropes of noir both cinematic and literary are present, typically to hyperbolic excess The book revels in the black and white, heavily shadowed, visual motif prevalent in the noir cinema genre, and Coover s attention to detail throughout the book when in comes to light and shadow and the obscured is steady and precise.Coover messes with time and chronology quite a bit through the book, and typically withholds information from the reader long after it has been narratively obtained again, by you this leads to fairly pervasive confusion throughout the narrative on the part of the reader, who also happens to be the detective, which is appropriate, as Noir does not appear to be a very good detective Additionally, the book frequently swerves into the fantastic and the unrealistic, again casting a haze over the narrative, almost as if it s envelopes in deep shadow.Most importantly though, this was a great deal of fun it is well crafted, absurd, obscene, and it kept me reading, enthralled, straight to the end.Glad I ve gotCoover on the shelf

  9. Judson Judson says:

    If you don t already get why it s such a great idea to narrate in 2nd person a book whose main character is named Philip M Noir, referring to the reader in voice over as you throughout, then this clever little knot of Cuisinarted crime cinema convention, plot, and cliche may not be for YOUsweetheart.

  10. Nathan "N.R." Gaddis Nathan "N.R." Gaddis says:

    The Noir interview with Bookslut The Noir interview with Bookslut

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10 thoughts on “Noir

  1. Paul Paul says:

    3.75 stars rounded up.My first Coover and where to start Well the title does give it away it is an exploration of the Noir genre send up, satire, tribute, a general culling of tropes This is written in the second person which fits the type and the protagonist Philip M M for Marlowe perhaps Noir is suitably sleazy, drunk and beaten up on a regular basis He has a smart secretary and a mysterious, veiled female client The City is dreary, run down and mainly experienced at nights there is 3.75 stars rounded up.My first Coover and where to start Well the title does give it away it is an exploration of the Noir genre send up, satire, tribute, a general culling of tropes This is written in the second person which fits the type and the protagonist Philip M M for Marlowe perhaps Noir is suitably sleazy, drunk and beaten up on a regular basis He has a smart secretary and a mysterious, veiled female client The City is dreary, run down and mainly experienced at nights there is a docks obviously there are corrupt police officers there is a Mr Big there are bars and eating houses that are suitably seedy there are mysterious tramps there are sultry singers who seem to find Noir irresistible As well as playing with the genre I think Coover also indulges in a little teenage wish fulfilmentof that later.Coover, when it comes to creating ambience, words and sentences is clearly a craftsman Much of noir is very cleverly done It is difficult to work out timescales The novel takes place over the period of about a week Time is rather fluid and there are nods to Greek myth with the labyrinth underground where Noir spends a rather hazy amount of time The plot itself is also rather hazy with plenty of gaps However one of the characters does rather sum up the point of this technique I have found, Mr Noir, that if you make a story with gaps in it, people just step in to fill them up, they can t help themselves Noir himself is not likeable a concoction of cynicism, ignorance and the inability to detect himself out of a paper bag He gets hit on the head and half killed several times The female characters all seem to want to put him back together and to bed him and not just the real women The scene with the mannequins just about sums up Noir In the dusty penumbral light, there s an eerie sensuality about them with their angular provocative poses, their hard glossy surfaces, their somnambulant masklike faces, features frozen in glacial eyeless gazes In short, not unlike most of the women you have known The female characters vary between those who look after mother Noir Blanche , even to the extent of dressing and feeding him, and whores some of them are caregivers as well when he has been beaten up The little, though not unexpected, twist at the end just confirms that the female characters are the ones with warmth and intelligence As always with Coover there is a caveat the fate of Michiko, although only a minor character, sums up the objectification and possession of women with the subsequent abandonment and destruction once past youth and usefulness I would like to see how he addresses gender over a series of books the Noir genre was always going to be atypical I suspect.There are a great many nods towards film the mannequins are straight from a Kubrik film and the mirror shoot out from Orson Welles The convoluted plot is pure Chandler The review in the Spectator points out that the effect of Noir is very similar to the Robert Montgomery film Lady in the Lake In the film Marlowe is effectively played by the camera The effect here is very similar.Summing up is difficult, partly because I think Coover is a writer who cannot be summed up in one book and this is tenuously the last in a trilogy and he is playing serious and thought provoking games What I haven t decided yet is whether Coover in his exploring genres is just giving the impression of the flaws in the order of things and cracks in establishment, or is he putting those impressions into somethingconcrete in terms of ideas I can t assess that from one book Reviews have tended to be positive and I have seen it described as Dieselpunk whatever that is and I can see it will attract fans of Noir fiction I think I may have started at the wrong end of Coover s work and as he is someone who has worked in many genres, judging from one alone is impossible


  2. Algernon (Darth Anyan) Algernon (Darth Anyan) says:

    9 10She looked like trouble and the smart thing probably would have been to send her packing But the rent has to be paid, you don t have enough business to turn down anyone And besides, you like her legs So, instead, even though you knew her story before you heard it, the inevitable chronicle of sex, money, betrayal what the f__k is the matter with the world anyway , you asked her to tell it From the beginning, you said Welcome to the Case of the Vanishing Black Widow, Robert Coover s 9 10She looked like trouble and the smart thing probably would have been to send her packing But the rent has to be paid, you don t have enough business to turn down anyone And besides, you like her legs So, instead, even though you knew her story before you heard it, the inevitable chronicle of sex, money, betrayal what the f__k is the matter with the world anyway , you asked her to tell it From the beginning, you said Welcome to the Case of the Vanishing Black Widow, Robert Coover s homage of a sorts to the genre made famous by the likes of James M Cain, Dashiell Hammett, Jim Thompson or Raymond Chandler The intention is clear from the opening scene of the femme fatale entering the dingy office of the down on his luck detective as though bringing on the night Or dragging it in her wake , andso from the writing on the glass door of said office Philip M Noir Private Investigations What follows next is not exactly your typical crime novel It does include all the classic genre tropes and hard boiled idiom captured expertly, but the building blocks are jumbled together, realigned, examined from outside and turned inside out until the result isof a distillation of the genre down to its essence like a perfume than an actual homage For one thing, the timeline of events is non linear and often deliberately confusing with characters dead in one chapter and active several pages later The plot is rich in mysterious, unexplained occurences and potential suspects read everybody The violence is endemic with characters being offed almost as soon as you get to meet them This struggle in the dark of the private detective to make sense of events as the number of dead bodies in the stories climbs higher and higher is not really unexpectedNothing seems to make sense, but why do you expect it toChandler and Hammett are experts themselves at thoroughly muddling the waters before the final reveals at the end of the novel With Coover, the mystery becomes a ritual dance with carefully coreographed steps and programmed music, as inevitable as an avalanche coming straight down the mountain towards you Like the actors in the other Coover novel I ve read earlier this year A Night At The Movies Philip M Noir is caught in a rigid mechanism and can only move like a tram in the direction of the already laid tracks These tracks being the genre conventions and the expectations of the genre fans You know plenty about being suck into stories that have already been told Every character in the story is familiar from classic novels and movies the femme fatale, the Big Boss, the cynical piano player, the drug dealer who is also a snitch, the aggravating and probably corrupt cop, the philosophical bartender, the harlot with the golden heart, the voluptuous jazz singer, the Fat Man impeccably dressed, the cocky and trigger happy henchman, the mousy and efficient secretary, the drunk and available jailbait heiress, assorted thugs and victims, and so on Coover delivers them mostly straight, with just a touch of absurd or over the top details to make the reader aware of the deconstructing game he is playing here High end toy soldiers, extensive tattoos on a Japanese lady or specialty doughnuts introduce some jarring notes in the predcitable progress of the story.If the story and the actors are easily recognizable, the one element that Coover liberates and twists in surprising directions is the scenery This technique is also something I already noticed in A Night At The Movies You feel like you are moving inthan three directions, doors are opening on different chambers every time you return to them, streets and alleys bend backwards, cellars communicate across the town The central element of the unnamed city is the ALLEY, just as the default time of day is the nightThe alley You can t say it s your home away from home, having no real home to be away from, but you know it well You ve spent serious time in it Have been mugged, chased, blown, asked for a light, beaten up, paid off, conned, dumped, supplied, scared shitless, given hot tips, shortchanged, shot at in here The city is alive and aware, as much a part of the story as the detective and his long list of suspectsHere s the principle The body is always sick Even when it s well, or thinks it is Cells are eating cells It s all about digestion Or indigestion What in the city we call corruption Eaters eating the eaten Mostly in the tumultuous dark It s a nasty fight to the finish and everybody loses Cities laid out on grids The grid s just an overlay Like graph paper The city itself, inside, is all roiling loops and curves Bubbling with a violent emptiness Coover is an exuberant stylist, scattering words and images in wild associations, a poet freestyling with the genre building blocks, rearranging them in unexpected patterns Through repetition and alliteration, we discover that noir is a mood, a state of mind, an atitudethan a recipe for writing a succesful crime story dark, danger, depressing, destitute, desolate, deadly, downbeat, denial, deception, depravity, done for, dirty, dingy, drifting, black, night, shadows, sombre, evil, empty, frustration, frivolous, fear, Here s an example of how the words come together to convey this mood indigoYou are moving through pools of wet yellow light, surrounded by a velvety darkness as soft as black silk stockings, and it is not the light but the obscurity that is most alluring The mystery of it The streets are deserted and, as you turn into them, kissed by the drifting fog, they open up before you, the buildings seeming to lean towards you, stuttery neon signs wink at you overhead Behind a steel chainlink fence in an empty playground, a child s swing creaks teasingly Somewhere there s a melancholic sigh of escaping steam It s beautiful to be walking down these lush wicked streets I mentioned Italo Calvino earlier, because I like to look at Coover as the American equivalent of the Italian artist Even if in his case the poetry is less whimsical and fanciful andbrutal, hard edged Bukovsky What made me think of Calvino and his novel If On A Winter Night A Traveller is the second person narrative common to both novels Noir is written in this YOU mode from start to finish, a difficult balancing act on the part of the writer, but very effective for the reader at leat in my case, since I noticed a few negative reviews for the book I wondered why I have this reaction to experimental novels that refuse to follow established rules of plot and timeline I believe it s because with this second person address the author is playing with me, making YOU an active element of the reading experienceI have found, Mr Noir, that if you make a story with gaps in it, people just step in to fill them up, they can t help themselvesSo You Me end up completing the actual story in your my mind, in between the written lines on the page.Final verdict a very good choice for fans of the genre who want to analyze and explore what makes a crime novel noir Approach with caution if you are not already familiar with the topic I am in the first category because my dreams are sometimes made of stuff like thisThis is what you love The gumshoe game Played alone on dark wet streets to the tune of the swell and fade of car horns, sirens, the sounds of breaking glass, cries in the street, the percussive punctuation of gunshots and shouted obscenities You love your own bitter misery, your knotted depression In short, you re a f__king romantic, Noir, as Joe the bartender likes to say A disease you medicate with booze, needing a dose now Cheers


  3. Mala Mala says:

    From the very first sentenceYou are at the morgue, Coover s choice of second person narration hits you like a bullet the pressure never really lets up because the YOU never leaves you the reader is made a witness, an accomplice How many thrillers employ that But it works in this highly stylised cinematic take on the private eye experience or rather eyeing the privates , involving the readers in its immediacy and as we walk the hazy landscapes of seedy bars, wet slippery alleyways, From the very first sentenceYou are at the morgue, Coover s choice of second person narration hits you like a bullet the pressure never really lets up because the YOU never leaves you the reader is made a witness, an accomplice How many thrillers employ that But it works in this highly stylised cinematic take on the private eye experience or rather eyeing the privates , involving the readers in its immediacy and as we walk the hazy landscapes of seedy bars, wet slippery alleyways, lush wicked streets, labyrinthine underground tunnels, menacing dockyard, the city as bellyache so on, it becomes hard to separate Noir s disturbing dream world from its nightmarish reality.Noir is very moody atmospheric, kind of Sin City ambience Coover really rocks it but the effect can get a bit hallucinatory, eg, that erotic dream sequence with the severed hand or that scene with the manikins, that s classic Coover Other highlights would include Michiko her tattooed body, Noir in a pair of pink silk panties with little flowers stitched on them , mis adventures with sex kittens, etc Noir would make a fantastic movie though the book itself tips its fedora to several classic moments in cinema.As Robbe Grillet turned the detective genre upside down in The Erasers, here Coover employs all the cliches of noir makes them respectable with his brilliant writing Highly recommended Worth reading Robert Coover discusses Noir Noir uses second person narration as opposed to the first person, a prevalent trait in hardboiled fiction Was this decision a way to not only immediately envelop the reader in the murky world of our titular hero, Philip M Noir, but to also subtly subvert the expectations of the reader Another part of that ongoing conversation was the 1980s 1990s Gerald s Party John s Wife sequence While the idea for Noir was still germinating, before it had partnered up with the as yet unwritten Ghost Town, I saw it vaguely as a possible third book of a trilogy, and as Gerald s Party is in first person and John s Wife in third, the idea of using the second person in the third story naturally occurred to me But that was only a trivial formal reason that provoked a few lines and set the tone, and the use of it as part of a trilogy was soon abandoned But the second person narrative idea stuck Even if it s only Noir talking to himself, the second person creates a compelling immediacy, a being thereness that blurs the distance between narrator and reader, and I found that appealing and sometimes usefully disturbing Noir looks out on the world seeking answers, understanding, needing to know through your eyes, and you, also a quester, look out through his Somewhat like the occasional use of the subjective camera in noir movies, and it resonates with those movies frequent voice over monologues


  4. Ian "Marvin" Graye Ian "Marvin" Graye says:

    Nwah, Dahling A modest, if twisted, homage to the classic roman noir designed and recommended for the titillation of heavy thinking undergrad philosophy students view spoiler the drama of cognition hide spoiler and Playboy readers view spoiler the melodrama of coition hide spoiler A Portrait of the Artist as a CulpritSoon after you first hung up your shingle as a private dick, a beautiful woman, far out of your league, climbed the stairs in her high heels and knocked coyly on your do Nwah, Dahling A modest, if twisted, homage to the classic roman noir designed and recommended for the titillation of heavy thinking undergrad philosophy students view spoiler the drama of cognition hide spoiler and Playboy readers view spoiler the melodrama of coition hide spoiler A Portrait of the Artist as a CulpritSoon after you first hung up your shingle as a private dick, a beautiful woman, far out of your league, climbed the stairs in her high heels and knocked coyly on your door You called out for her to come in, all the time keeping your feet on the desk, your hands clenched behind your neck, and your trousers on After all, you hadn t met her yet The hall light formed a shapely silhouette on the glass panel in the door, which was soon followed by her entrance She sat down on the chair opposite you It was lower than the chair you were sitting on Her legs went right up to your expectations.Mr Noir, I d like to speak to you about my husband He s been murdered When did it happen Last night We had only just finished dinner About eight Then I saw a man in the garden, and my husband went outside to confront him There were harsh words, and suddenly I heard a gun explode My husband fell to the ground and was dead by the time I got to his side.What did the killer do then He ran back up the path and straight out the front gate, which was open at the time I can still hear the sound of his shoes on the gravel.Did you recognise him No, I d never seen him before.You weren t sure whether she was telling the truth, but it was too early in the conversation to discuss wills and insurance policies.Did you get a good look at him Could you give me a description of his face Yes I think so.You took down notes feverishly as she responded to your questions.Wait here while I go next door My partner is a sketch artist.By the time you returned, she had gone, the only trace that she had ever been in your office was a bundle of C notes on your desk It would have beenthan enough for you to take her out for a fancy steak frites dinner at Entrecote.You showed your partner the notes you had taken and he commenced a sketch with effortless ease He had worked for the police for 38 years before being forcibly retired after an indiscretion with a new female detective He was experiencing some tough times and had asked you if he could sub lease a room.Despite his ease, a line of sweat trickled down your partner s brow Luckily, it fell on the desk to the side of his sketch, which remained pristine.A clear portrait emerged quickly It never ceased to amaze you how sketch artists can create something out of almost nothing You looked back and forth from your notes to the sketch to your partner It was a good likeness, but you couldn t check it against your client s recollection of the murderer, and you didn t know when or if she d be back.Your partner wiped his brow with his handkerchief, and resumed working Evidently, he wasn t finished yet He drew a gun, then he pointed it at your head, said I m sorry it had to be you, and pulled the trigger


  5. Rayroy Rayroy says:

    A Review Written in One Sentence Written with the rapid fire of a Tommy Gun, being fired long after the sun has gone in a dark and nameless city, streets and hidden unmapped alleyways, full of crooked cops, bums, whores, thieves, skimmers, pimps, hit men, pity criminals, career criminals, a city made for Noir, with its muted colors and rain, flophouses, dive and lounge bars with the same female singer nightly, pool halls, and hidden tunnels and passageways underneath the pavement, Robert Co A Review Written in One Sentence Written with the rapid fire of a Tommy Gun, being fired long after the sun has gone in a dark and nameless city, streets and hidden unmapped alleyways, full of crooked cops, bums, whores, thieves, skimmers, pimps, hit men, pity criminals, career criminals, a city made for Noir, with its muted colors and rain, flophouses, dive and lounge bars with the same female singer nightly, pool halls, and hidden tunnels and passageways underneath the pavement, Robert Coover , much like Thomas Pynchon did with Inherent Vice tries his hand at hard boiled noir fiction with Noir ,true to the genre then Inherent Vice though Inherent Vice was so much then Pynchon doing noir , well surfing and surf music, a lot of pot smoking for one what I mean is booth books are written by post modern masters for lack of better words writers who write in their own styles, and mix and mash many other styles, though Thomas Pynchon can go from many different styles in just a few pages, Coover a few in a every book, but this isn t a comparison between two authors just they both wrote Noir novels around the same time, look just read the book, it s a quick read that s darkly comical, a wise cracking good time, or don t read it what do I car, for some reason I could go for a donut right about now


  6. Mike Mike says:

    Have you ever finished a book and put it down thinking that you weren t sure what exactly happened but that you kind of liked it Such was my experience with Robert Coover s Noir Noir is nominally a mystery though it is surrealistic and amorphous one much like a particularly vivid dream This dream perspective is perhaps aided by second person narration that puts the reader in the drivers seat but neglects to provide them with steering wheel, gas pedal, or break.The narration elevates Noir to Have you ever finished a book and put it down thinking that you weren t sure what exactly happened but that you kind of liked it Such was my experience with Robert Coover s Noir Noir is nominally a mystery though it is surrealistic and amorphous one much like a particularly vivid dream This dream perspective is perhaps aided by second person narration that puts the reader in the drivers seat but neglects to provide them with steering wheel, gas pedal, or break.The narration elevates Noir to a novel that you don t just read but one that you experience The perverse and the beautiful collide alongside the serious and the ridiculous It is a curious effect that often times makes the novel stirring, funny, and horrific often all in the same seen In one particularly lengthy scene Coover describes the use of a prostitute as a message board between two rival gang leaders as the two trade insults via tattoos adding new ones or modifying old ones There is a certain perverse humor in a women who ended up a tattooed from crown to toes with layers of exotic overwritten graffiti, a veritable yakuza textbook, slang dictionary, and art gallery, a condition that served her well in her subsequent career, once the museum, which claimed ownership of her, was paid off she was worth a C note just for an hour of library time Of course there is a certain amount undeniable horror to literal objectification, from person to art, a horror that is fully realized in her final fate which I won t spoil natch.Nothing in Noir has a real name Everyone isor less defined by the role they play in the story Flame is a love interest Rats is an informant Blue is a policeman This isn t always the case and it isn t always obvious though the cleverly named Fat Agnes a play on ignis fatuus is my particular favorite of the bunch Even our title character, Phillip M Noir, is a kind of obvious choice almost exactly what we would expect Except not quite That last a bit difficult to explain and I think I ll leave it by saying that every is and isn t exactly what they seem.Time and place are nigh on malleable entities The mystery elements of Noir have a distinct progression but it is a progression that obfuscated by constant shifts in time that frequently left me slightly confused as to when exactly we were The city of Noir is, to borrow a bit from Stephen King, the apotheosis of every noir hard boiled city you ve ever seen As Coover illustrates in a particularly humorous passage it involved masturbating in subway passages a city that is both the coquettish yet unattainable lover, friend, and frequent opponent A confusing mess personified yet strangely indifferent to our hero s trials and tribulations The city has a maze of alleys prowled by a homeless one that Noir appeases by carrying offerings of trinkets, baubles and junk the comprise a landscape all their own and is connected by a seemingly endless labyrinth of smuggler s tunnels that go wherever you need them to go All of this gives the setting a curiously mythic feel.Noir is a singular novel familiar in its use of familiar tropes from hardboiled fiction and noir film countless readers and viewers have come to know and enjoy yet curiously alien in its simultaneously literal and symbolic characters, its solid yet shifting settings, its precise if disjointed use of time, and its mystery that is both resolved yet left open with half asked questions whispering in the background It was not an easy read, particularly since I ve been really busy, but a surprisingly rewarding read that deservedtime and consideration than I have been able to give it I will be keeping an eye on future titles from Robert Coover and while he is a bit outside of what I typically read I certainly enjoyed the challenge Noir offered


  7. John Hood John Hood says:

    Bound SunPost Weekly March 11, 2010http www.sunpostweekly.com 2010 03 Noir Sung BlueRobert Coover Gets with His Inner GumshoeJoHn HoodYou read a lot of hard boiled fiction Maybe even a little too much The kinda little too much Cocteau called just enough You cut your teeth on Chandler and Hammett and James M Cain Learned to crack wise through Mickey Spillane You got your dark view of the world from Jim Thompson Consider yourself an authority on El Leonard And you ve spent a go Bound SunPost Weekly March 11, 2010http www.sunpostweekly.com 2010 03 Noir Sung BlueRobert Coover Gets with His Inner GumshoeJoHn HoodYou read a lot of hard boiled fiction Maybe even a little too much The kinda little too much Cocteau called just enough You cut your teeth on Chandler and Hammett and James M Cain Learned to crack wise through Mickey Spillane You got your dark view of the world from Jim Thompson Consider yourself an authority on El Leonard And you ve spent a good chunk of a hard life alongside walk alones like Travis McGee, Hoke Mosley, Harry Bosch and Elvis Cole.You prefer alleys to main drags, suits to denim, highballs to beer You speak fast, think once and never apologize, no matter how wrong they say you are You ve got swollen knuckles, a tin ear and a chip on your shoulder that s been around so long it s got a name.When you heard word that Robert Coover had gotten with his inner gumshoe, you weren t mad In fact, you were pleased by the news You saw that he called his experiment Noir, and you said What else And when you got the book in your hands, you didn t put it down until you d reached The End.You didn t mind that the antihero s name was Philip M Noir because you know it comes from the best You didn t care that the bad guy was called Mr Big, the alley cat was christened Rats, or that Noir had the hots for a dame named Flame You were even somewhat charmed by the fact that her lovers were called moths You dug the stuttering neon, the puddled shadows, the holstered heaters And you knew what was coming when the veiled widow showed up in need of a peeper Tomorrow was gonna be black and blue, and you couldn t wait.In truth, the whole book is a bruise, punctuated by dead bodies, and it smarts You wouldn t have wanted it any other way And since you too have been sucked into stories that have already been told, you already knew how hard would be to step out of it But you also know that it s not the story you re trapped in, it s how you play it out Your style Class The moves you make You see that now, here, in Coover s shady strut through the dark damp night Just as you saw it then, in Chandler and Hammett and Cain You recognize the filthy, smoky, gloomy, rank as if it were an old friend You too have walked these streets, made these mistakes, lived these myths And you will continue reading these stories until there are nowords


  8. Ronald Morton Ronald Morton says:

    Well, let s start with the basics the book is not misnamed, it is in fact a work of noir, starring you oh, the book is in second person , a detective named Phillip M Noir middle name undisclosed, I m guessing it s the obvious one though , working on a case for an attractive yet mysterious widow Pretty much all tropes of noir both cinematic and literary are present, typically to hyperbolic excess The book revels in the black and white, heavily shadowed, visual motif prevalent in the noi Well, let s start with the basics the book is not misnamed, it is in fact a work of noir, starring you oh, the book is in second person , a detective named Phillip M Noir middle name undisclosed, I m guessing it s the obvious one though , working on a case for an attractive yet mysterious widow Pretty much all tropes of noir both cinematic and literary are present, typically to hyperbolic excess The book revels in the black and white, heavily shadowed, visual motif prevalent in the noir cinema genre, and Coover s attention to detail throughout the book when in comes to light and shadow and the obscured is steady and precise.Coover messes with time and chronology quite a bit through the book, and typically withholds information from the reader long after it has been narratively obtained again, by you this leads to fairly pervasive confusion throughout the narrative on the part of the reader, who also happens to be the detective, which is appropriate, as Noir does not appear to be a very good detective Additionally, the book frequently swerves into the fantastic and the unrealistic, again casting a haze over the narrative, almost as if it s envelopes in deep shadow.Most importantly though, this was a great deal of fun it is well crafted, absurd, obscene, and it kept me reading, enthralled, straight to the end.Glad I ve gotCoover on the shelf


  9. Judson Judson says:

    If you don t already get why it s such a great idea to narrate in 2nd person a book whose main character is named Philip M Noir, referring to the reader in voice over as you throughout, then this clever little knot of Cuisinarted crime cinema convention, plot, and cliche may not be for YOUsweetheart.


  10. Nathan "N.R." Gaddis Nathan "N.R." Gaddis says:

    The Noir interview with Bookslut The Noir interview with Bookslut


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