Noir

Noir❰Read❯ ➮ Noir Author Robert Coover – Jobs-in-kingston.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 killer 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. 375 stars rounded upMy 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 fulfilment; of that laterCoover 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 techniue“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 manneuins 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 aftermother 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 subseuent 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 suspectThere are a great many nods towards film; the manneuins 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 similarSumming 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 something concrete 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 910 She 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 fk 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' and so 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 is of 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 unexpected Nothing seems to make sense but why do you expect it to? Chandler 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 storyIf the story and the actors are easily recognizable the one element that Coover liberates and twists in surprising directions is the scenery This techniue is also something I already noticed in 'A Night At The Movies' You feel like you are moving in than 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 night The 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 suspects Here'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 atitude than a recipe for writing a succesful crime storydark 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 indigo You 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 euivalent of the Italian artist Even if in his case the poetry is less whimsical and fanciful and brutal 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 experience 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 So YouMe end up completing the actual story in yourmy mind in between the written lines on the pageFinal 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 this This 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 fking romantic Noir as Joe the bartender likes to say A disease you medicate with booze needing a dose now Cheers From the very first sentence You 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 realityNoir 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 seuence 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 misadventures with sex kittens etc Noir would make a fantastic movie though the book itself tips its fedora to several classic moments in cinemaAs 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 recommendedWorth readingRobert Coover discusses NoirNoir 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 1980s1990s Gerald’s PartyJohn’s Wife seuence 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 uester look out through his Somewhat like the occasional use of the subjective camera in noir movies and it resonates with those movies’ freuent voice over monologues Nwah DahlingA modest if twisted homage to the classic roman noir designed and recommended for the titillation of heavy thinking undergrad philosophy students view spoilerthe drama of cognition hide spoiler 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 uick 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 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 breakThe 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 subseuent 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 ‘natchNothing in Noir has a real name Everyone is or 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 uite 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 seemTime 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 freuently 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 noirhard 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 couettish yet unattainable lover friend and freuent 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 feelNoir 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 uestions whispering in the background It was not an easy read particularly since I’ve been really busy but a surprisingly rewarding read that deserved time 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 Bound SunPost Weekly March 11 2010httpwwwsunpostweeklycom201003Noir 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 ColeYou 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 nameWhen 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 EndYou 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 waitIn 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 no words 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 preciseCoover messes with time and chronology uite 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 freuently swerves into the fantastic and the unrealistic again casting a haze over the narrative almost as if it's envelopes in deep shadowMost importantly though this was a great deal of fun it is well crafted absurd obscene and it kept me reading enthralled straight to the endGlad I've got Coover on the shelf 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 The Noir interview with Bookslut

Ebook  ¶ Noir eBook ¿
  • ebook
  • 224 pages
  • Noir
  • Robert Coover
  • English
  • 12 August 2016
  • 9781590204559