Saturday, September 15, 2007

Neo-noir

Neo-noir isn’t an adjective I’ve ever heard, as far as I recall. (Which doesn’t mean much: when we went to the Modern Art Museum in Luxembourg, there was a huge chart on the wall showing 20th century art movements, and many of them meant nothing to me.)
The only reason I know neo-noir exists is because it’s the description of Rob Roberge’s novel, More Than They Could Chew.
Noir means something to me: it’s that sort of dark, sometimes comic approach to thirties stories, often including private detectives. Neo also means something to me (apart from being the name of the main character in The Matrix). It usually implies a return to a ‘movement’ that’s died out at an earlier time. So we expect that neo-noir means a return, of sorts, to the noir type of writing produced by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.
I’m not sure that either of these writers would appreciate neo-noir, however, if some of the reviews of More Than They Could Chew is anything to go by:
Sick and funny and impossible to put down.
A knack for impeccably grotty details of the demimonde
The grime of these lives still remains in our minds long after the last page has been read
Strap in and get ready for a mind flush. Roberge gives us the rotting tail of the counterculture in postmodern apocalypse. Kesey and Burroughs meet Leonard Palahniuk -- and get stomped. I need a fix. More, now!
Gritty, funky, addictive, and written with eloquent ruthlessness
Call it kink-noir. Call it beer-soaked black humor. Call it whatever you want.
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