Tag Archives: country noir

More 2014 Happenings

Maybe the biggest 2014 happening is this: my name in a Table of Contents with Dennis Lehane, in a book of stories inspired by the Boss:

trouble in the heartland

Not on the cover, but I’m right there in the ToC, I promise! My story is a bit of country noir based (very,┬ávery loosely) on “The Promised Land.”

(Not my story.)

Here, I’ll let the anthology’s editor, Joe Clifford, wax poetic about the awesomeness of this anthology.

I also contributed a couple items to hot-shot lit site Electric Literature. First was an essay on the “new genre” of country noir.

el cn

Also at Electric Lit, I interviewed Benjamin Whitmer, who wrote one of 2014’s best books, Cry Father:

el bw


“Cormac McCarthy’s novels are as innocent of theme and of ethical reference as they are of plot. On the other hand, each of them constitutes a densely created world as authentic and persuasive as any that there is in fiction. The worlds are convincing not because the people in them do normal and recognizable things, or represent us metaphorically, or even inhabit identifiable time and space, but because McCarthy compels us to believe in them through the traditional means of invention, command of language, and narrative art. To enter those worlds and move around in them effectively we are required to surrender all Cartesian predispositions and rediscover some primal state of consciousness prior to its becoming identified with thinking only. There is a powerful pressure of meaning in McCarthy’s novels, but the experience of significance does not translate into communicable abstractions of significance. … Ethical categories do not rule in this environment, or even pertain: moral considerations seem not to affect outcomes; action and event seem determined wholly by capricious and incomprehensible fates. His stories are lurid and simple; they seem oddly like paradigms without reference and are all the more compelling because of that, since the matter of the paradigm does not lose its particularity in abstraction. The characters–without utilitarian responsibilities to well-made plots and unrelated to our bourgeois better natures–are real precisely to the degree that they resist symbolization.” (Vereen M. Bell)

Haha, too right, Mr. Crumley, sir, too right

Interviewer: Do you think you offer a “surreal vision” of Montana, as one writer commented in a review in Time?

Crumley: Surreal?! I think part of the trouble is that nobody on either coastd really knows much about what goes on out here, so that it *seems* surreal to them. … I have a notion that New York and Washington and Los Angeles are really provincial places, that the true sophisticated cosmopolitan American lives somewhere in between. I find it difficult to think of people as civilized who don’t know how to change a tire. I don’t *like* to change tires, but at least I can.

Mr. James Crumley: “Oh, they had a buncha crap to say, but it sounded like television to me.”

Upon a re-read, I was surprised to discover just how plain mediocre TO HAVE & HAVE NOT is. I mean, I knew it wasn’t among Hem’s best novels, but I guess I still though Hem’s worse is still better than almost anyone else’s best. Nope.