Autoren, Verleger und Übersetzer geben in dieser Reihe Antwort auf die vermeintlich einfache Frage: Was ist Noir? In dieser Ausgabe schreibt die brasilianische Schriftstellerin Patrícia Melo über ihr Verständnis von Noir.

Sie betont, dass unter dem Begriff Kriminalliteratur viele verschiedene Richtungen zusammengefasst werden und sie in ihren Romanen zwar Themen anspricht, die mit Verbrechen, Gewalt, Grausamkeit und Ungerechtigkeiten zusammenhängen, aber sie sich selbst nicht als Kriminalromanschreiberin einordnen lassen wollte. In ihren Augen tendiert die Literaturkritik dazu, jeden Schriftsteller, der sich mit urbaner Realität beschäftigt, so zu adressieren und gerade Noir hänge eng mit Urbanität zusammen. Doch müsse man nicht mehr zwischen Noir und Literatur unterscheiden, da es einfach nur noch Literatur gebe – gute und schlechte. Alles andere sei Marketing.


 

We know that the Noir gender is a very serious one, with different tendencies. There is the English school, where the crime, mystery, detective are the elements through which the author establishes a cat and mouse game with the reader’s help. Logic and deduction are important parts of this school.
In the American school, all this is present, but it does not matter much who died and who is the killer. The important thing is to understand the society in which the crime was committed and what this society has done to us. These two schools are able to house millions of tendencies, from Edgar Allan Poe to Lawrence Block.
That’s why I have always being resistant to the idea of being labelled as a detective novel writer. If we use the definition above, my first crime novel was “Ghost Light”, although in all my literature I address issues related to crime, violence, cruelty, injustice and social inequality.
The noir novel has always had an umbilical relationship with urban culture. In Brazil, it emerged only after the sixties, as the country became essentially urban.
That’s why, in my opinion, literary criticism tends to classify any author that deals with urban reality and its pathologies as a detective writer. If we accept that – considering the predominance of urban culture in almost every literary production – we have to consider that Noir is Literature with a capital L nowadays. “Crime and Punishment” is Noir. “Disgrace” by Coetzee is also Noir. After all, Porfirio is he not a kind of Russian Poirot? And David Lurie would he not be a redesigned Marlowe? A loser, coming out of his habitat and who, in another context, witnesses a crime, finds out its author and watches, undaunted, the spectacle of injustice?
That is my point. There is no Noir literature nowadays. There is just Literature. Good and bad. The rest are market issues.
We have broadened the definition. And we still are – as Elmore Leonard said once, the Greek tragedy’s keepers.

PatrĂ­cia Melo (c) 09/2015

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