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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Mystery Books & Authors  / Genres and Themes  / Themes  /

Post modern mystery novels
emo ozen - 05:56pm Jan 23, 1999 PST

I am preparing a seminar about the relation between post modernity and mystery novels.Can you help me about this topics. Maybe you suggest some novel examples like "Dumas Club" by Reverte

Brigid O'Shaugnessy - 11:42am Feb 19, 1999 PST(#1 of 11)

What do you mean when you say post-modernity? There are so many definitions it's hard to address.

If you mean that quick-reference post-modernity by which writers refer to common touchstones in the cultural lexicon Lawrence Block's Burglar series is a good place to start (they're always talking about Sue Grafton novels).

Also, the line between post-modernity and modernity is practically nonexistent. I think mystery novels are so popular because they are almost always resolutely UN-post-modern, i.e., you know there's a solution and that somehow things will get "figured out" if not put to rights.

I'd recommend the ever classic Dorothy Sayers, who wrote some of the most lucid prose in the 20th century, P.D. James, whose mysteries are about the mystery of the human condition as well as your classic book 'em mysteries, and Raymond Chandler, who was a first-rate mystery writer who imbued his novels with poetic grace. There are probably a LOT more but I can't think of 'em right now...

P Marlowe - 08:49pm Mar 9, 1999 PST(#2 of 11)
Glenview 7537 - Hollywood

Post-modern - meaning death of romanticism - this would embrace just about everything written since 1930. As Raymond Chandler wrote in his essay "The Simple Art of Murder," the hard boiled detective writer has taken murder out of the drawing room and put in back on the "mean streets" where it belongs.

Include Hammett, Chandler, Cain and Woolrich in anything you plan to discuss on post-modern and you can't go too far off. Include Grahame Greene (English) too.

Brigid O'Shaugnessy - 09:35am Mar 11, 1999 PST(#3 of 11)

I love Graham Greene but I always thought of him more as a novelist where the intrigue is secondary to the convoluted private lives of the characters.

Except for "The Third Man," and he wrote that after the movie...

P Marlowe - 10:16am Mar 21, 1999 PST(#4 of 11)
Glenview 7537 - Hollywood

He wrote "Our Man in Havana" too, Brigid. Many of his books have mystery and intrigue at their center.

C.K. Dexter-Haven - 01:11pm Apr 8, 1999 PST(#5 of 11)

That's true, Graham Greene was a suspense writer. But when I think of his books, I think of "The Heart of the Matter" where the intrigue is almost always secondary to the screwy characters who get themselves in another fine mess.

David Matthews - 04:31pm Apr 14, 1999 PST(#6 of 11)

Grahame Greene wrote some novels he termed "entertainments" to differentiate them from his more serious works. Most have merit. "Brighton Rock" is a gripping study of a teenage gangster. It has a powerful but very depressing climax. The entertainments were basically written to make money and with an eye to filming. Greene was interested in movies, he even appeared in one (Francois Truffaut's "Day For Night") and was a film critic for a while.

I sometimes feel that Greene,s religious philosophizing interferes with his considerable writing talents. Having said that my favorite Greene novel is "The End Of The Affair" which is ALL about religion.

C.K. Dexter-Haven - 04:27pm Apr 17, 1999 PST(#7 of 11)

I always like "Travels With My AUnt," personally, which is mostly very un-Greene like. I think I read the End of the Affair but can't remember it clearly but I do remember it being horribly depressing.

David Matthews - 06:38pm Apr 17, 1999 PST(#8 of 11)

I would agree that "The End Of The Affair" is not exactly a barrel of laughs, mainly because the first person narrator {I think his name was Maurice) is a thoroughly objectionable character. It does tell a complex story very cleverly though.

It was made into a poor and badly miscast movie in the mid fifties.

C.K. Dexter-Haven - 10:08am Apr 21, 1999 PST(#9 of 11)

Oh! I did have a thought about "post-modern mysteries," -- all the novels by Paul Auster (well, not all-- LEviathan, and most of the others) could be considered very po-mo and literary type of mystery.

Katarina Rundgren - 01:12am Jul 13, 1999 PST(#10 of 11)
A stranger is a friend you have yet to meet

I really like Paul Auster but even though they are quite mysterious I don't think I've ever considered them mystery books... hm... something to think about... what is the defintion of a mystery? ;-)

Elena R. - 10:46am Oct 26, 2003 PST(#11 of 11)

I recommend you City of Glass by Paul Auster, it is the perfect example of the postmodernism deconstruction of the detective genre, it has all the elements of a detective story under the postmodernist view.

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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Mystery Books & Authors  / Genres and Themes  / Themes  / Post modern mystery novels

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