Monday, 10 August 2009

American Noir

Over the weekend I read 3 short books from 1930s America. They certainly were dark, but the authors managed to make you sympathise with the criminal main characters. The prose was very readable and modern, especially compared with a 1940s noir novel which I started but didn't make any progress with. It was just too self-consciously clever but these 3 I recommend:

The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M Cain
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? by Horace McCoy
Thieves Like Us by Edward Anderson

The last is the most political but is also an absorbing modern tragedy. They Shoot Horses is set in one of those Depression-era marathon dances.

I finished up by reading a science-fiction novel* (I know, I practically read it by accident). The original concept was very reminiscent of the start of the tv programme Lost, although this book predates by series by 30+ years. It really grabbed you at the start but then fizzled out a bit ...

*forgot to say that it was Seahorse in the Sky by Edmund Cooper
Day 302; Book 292