Monday, November 19, 2012

Modern Noir - a visual guide

[This is how I spent part of my Sunday, so I hope folks find this useful]

Noir is often considered as a genre, or sub-genre, and is usually associated with crime fiction.  Really though, it is more like a style of fiction, or even a strain of fiction, rather then a sub-genre that doesn't have to be limited to crime fiction.  In recent years a lot of authors have self-identified as noir or even neo-noir (a term that I don't like) writers but even that can be misleading since some of the best noirs weren't written with that goal in mind.

Since it pops up here and there and in unexpected places noir winds up becoming a type of fiction that you have to search for and not always find, which is part of what makes a great noir story so rewarding when it is found.

Noir has been historically resistant to firm definition and any attempt at defining what it is probably says more about the author of said definition then the term itself.  Rather then re-hash what noir is or isn't I instead decided to created a visual guide to modern noir with the only commentary being that I genuinely love all of theses books and I believe them to be noir.

A couple of random notes:

-As much as I love old crime fiction, old pulps, and classic noir my reading preference of late is for noirs from the mid to late 70's on, so that is the focus here. Some great noirs have been published in recent years by small  and unlikely publishers, hopefully this guide points some of them out. Also, I believe that modern noirs sometimes get left out of noir discussions.

-They are in no set order.

-The board is a work in progress and I'll add new covers as I discover them or remember to add them. So check back if you like.

-If you don't see a book here you can read in to it or not. Maybe it means something, maybe not.

-I've written about noir a few times now. I am not an expert, just an enthusiast.

Here's my visual essay, or guide that I created.


Paul D Brazill said...

Plenty of tasty stuff there. And loads for me to check out. Ta!

Kevin Lynn Helmick said...

What a list, wow. Stunned and honored that a book of mine is on it too.
Neo Noir is not a term I care much for eithier. I guess I figure borrowing one French word is enough. Modern Noir has nice American ring to it, and like most American anything we tend to push the boundries of tradition till it's something all together diferent. Nothing against the French or Brits who started it all, but American Noir is like what British Blues is to American blues. It's all good.
Kiss Me Judas, should be on this list, maybe it is, just didn't see it.

Chris said...

That's really a great list. I love seeing Scalped and Criminal on there.

Eric Beetner said...

Great. More to add to my pile. Bastard.

lynn kostoff said...

Thanks for taking the time to compile the guide. Thanks too for the inclusion. Some fine writers and some of my all-time favorites on it.

Anonymous-9 said...

Nice list. Thanks Brian.