Book Review: The New Black, Edited by Richard Thomas

7 Apr

The New Black Cover

It’s easier to hear God in the desert.


The concept of noir, the French word for “black,” has existed in contextual form since the advent of the written word. From the bleak, apocalyptic warnings of The Old Testament, to the canon of Shakespeare, to its eventual codifying as genre by American and British authors starting in the 19th century, most notably with Doyle and Poe, writers have sought to popularize and render irresistible all the dark, shifting drives scuttling under the human hide.

Almost exclusively crime-oriented in its nascent novel form, the noir movement has since evolved to harness elements and tropes from science fiction, horror, fantasy, and more recently, from all their transgressive subgenres including body-horror and the grotesque. Out of these nefarious parents has spawned a new movement being heralded as Neo-Noir, or “New Black,” its pioneers ranging from elder statesmen like Stephen King, Flannery O’Connor, and Joyce Carol Oates, to its modern practitioners of Jack Ketchum, Mary Gaitskill, Chuck Palahniuk, Laird Barron, and Stephen Graham Jones.

Going beyond the nihilism and anti-heroes which were the staples of hardboiled fiction, the Neo-Noir movement has sought to utilize the accessibility, luridness, and immediacy of genre fiction, and meld it with the sensibilities and marrow deep investigations typically reserved for more literary work—the term literaryitself now becoming an amorphous, less defined and rigid category itself, and for the better.

All of which brings us to a collection of stories exemplifying this evolution in literature’s dark arts, as it were…[CONTINUE READING]



Dino ParentiWhen not scribbling twisted musings into spiral notebooks, photographing the odd puddle or junk pile, or building classy furniture, Dino Parenti earns a little scratch drawing buildings. Read his fiction appearing in our Artemis and Dionysus issues: “Beyond The Eye” and “Meat Sweats

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