Saturday, January 15, 2011

'Noir' series

I received the latest Stop, You're Killing Me! newsletter and in its list of new hardcovers was one that caught my eye: Haiti Noir, edited by Edwidge Danticat. Turns out the book is the latest in a series of books of noir short stories, each set in a different city or specific geographic area. Haiti is the 43rd book in the series and the publisher, Akashic Books, is pumping out new books as fast as it can. Another book with stories set in Copenhagen is being published this month too. After that is Barcelona, to be published in May, and three more -- Cape Cod, Pittsburgh and San Diego -- expected in June. More are in the works, including one set in New Jersey and edited by Joyce Carol Oates, and others in Bogota, Jerusalem and Lagos among other locales. Other books have been edited by George Pelecanos (two in Washington, D.C.), Lawrence Block (two featuring Manhattan) and Dennis Lehane (Boston).

Haiti Noir includes stories by Danticat and Madison Smartt Bell, two writers I'm already familiar with, as well as many others I'll be happy to be introduced to, especially if Danticat had a say in choosing them.

The series sounds wonderful and will be a big help in my Crime Travel pursuit.

Also, saw a great documentary on PBS the other night, Cinema's Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood, about the European directors, actors, writers and film craftsmen who fled Europe in the 1930s and came to the United States to work. I think I already knew that film noir was created by German refugees who used atmospheric lighting and had a dark view of the world, understandably, but it was interesting to be reminded of it. It was also fascinating to be taken  through the cast of Casablanca, from the leads such as Paul Henreid, an Austrian actor, and Peter Lorre, a Hungarian raised in Austria, to more than a dozen actors in smaller parts, all European refugees. I've never admired Casablanca as a film as much as some, but now that I know the history of the cast I admire it for other reasons.

1 comment:

KRK said...

Ooooh. That series sounds good. Thanks for the tip.