Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Ken Bruen (ed): Dublin Noir: The Celtic Tiger vs. the Ugly American

My husband got me this book for - oh God, it was either my birthday, which would make this late blogging of it REALLY embarrassing, or else Christmas, which is only a little bit embarrassing. It's a collection of short stories by mostly NA authors, written as you can tell in the noir genre and with Ireland as the subject theme.

My poor husband was on to me for the first few weeks to find out if I liked it, but I didn't read it straight away (this is unusual for me) because I wanted to save it as a back-up book for times of drought. By the time he'd given up I did start reading it, and frankly wasn't too enamoured with it so it got pushed to the side for a while. I finished it this month anyway (by this month I mean March, the time of writing), and have been left with a resounding impression of Meh.

The trouble with noir is that you can't really force it. The early writers of noir didn't sit down thinking "I'm gonna write me some noir baby". They wrote, and were classified later, weren't they? It is of course a very easy genre to parody, and if anything this book shows that the line between loving pastiche and parody is rather fine. Some of the stories are fine, albeit not all to my taste, but some are just a bit dull and feel, as I said, parodic. Now, Sara Gran wrote a fine bit of noir, because she injected it with something new. (I'm still planning to read her books, I'm just saving it. It's on my list.) A bunch of violent incidents that end badly isn't necessarily noir, is it?

Most of the writers are un-known to me, except Eoin Colfer and the editor Ken Bruen. And as you can see I wasn't mad keen on either of those. Still, I appreciate the effort made by my beloved, even though I think this one might be given to charity with no regrets.


Anonymous said...

It was your xmas gift... ;)

bani said...

Someone doesn't suffer from memory loss. <3 <3 <3