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American Noir (Library of America) Hardcover – April 26, 2012
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"The eleven novels in The Library of America's adventurous two-volume collection represent a rich vein of modern American writing too often neglected in mainstream literary histories. Tapping deep roots in the American literary imagination, they explore themes of crime, guilt, deception, obsessive passion, murder, and the disintegrating psyche.
"James M. Cain's pioneering novel of murder and adultery along the California highway, The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934), which shocked contemporaries with its laconic toughness and fierce sexuality.
"Horace McCoy's They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1935) uses truncated rhythms and a unique narrative structure to turn its account of a Hollywood dance marathon into an unforgettable evocation of social chaos and personal desperation.
"In Thieves Like Us (1937), Edward Anderson vividly brings to life the dusty roads and back-country hideouts where a fugitive band of Oklahoma outlaws plays out its destiny.
"The Big Clock (1946), an ingenious novel of pursuit and evasion by the poet Kenneth Fearing, is set by contrast in the dense and neurotic inner world of a giant publishing corporation under the thumb of a warped and murderous chief executive.
"William Lindsay Gresham's controversial Nightmare Alley (1946), a ferocious psychological portrait of a charismatic carnival hustler, creates an unforgettable atmosphere of duplicity, corruption, and self-destruction.Read more ›
This two-volume LOA set, which includes eleven novels by as many writers offers a broad introduction to noir. The first volume includes six novels from the 1930's and 1940's Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1930s and 40s: The Postman Always Rings Twice / They Shoot Horses, Don't They? / Thieves Like Us / The Big Clock / ... a Dead Man (Library of America) (Vol 1) while the second volume includes five novels from the 1950's Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1950s: The Killer Inside Me / The Talented Mr. Ripley / Pick-up / Down There / The Real Cool Killers (Library of America) (Vol 2). Noir literature is intertwined closely with noir movies, and each of the eleven books in this anthology has been filmed.Read more ›
Of the eleven stories included the following were made into films:
'The Postman Always Rings Twice' - filmed seven times
'Thieves Like Us' - filmed twice
'The Big Clock' - filmed twice
'They Shoot Horses, Don’t They' - filmed once, though Charlie Chaplin tried to make this movie with Marilyn Monroe but
Edgar J. Hoover got in the way!
'Nightmare Alley' - filmed once
'The Killer Inside Me' - filmed twice
'The Talented Mr. Ripley' - filmed twice
'I Married a Dead Man' - made, extremely loosely, into 'Mrs Winterbourne', apparently a comedy!
'Down There' - filmed by François Truffaut as 'Shoot the Piano Player'.
The only reason I did not give this book a full five stars is I felt the notes on the text could have been better. For example: in 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' a character accuses another of homosexuality but you need to know the poem 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud' by William Wordsworth to understand the allusion. There is nothing about this reference in the notes. I wonder how many other such references I missed.
I fully recommend the Library of America for anyone who wants to build a collection of literature. The books are very well made and will last a lifetime.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These are such fun, and Library of America has done a great job with this edition. A bargain, too.Published 1 month ago by Bibliophile
Based on the four  novels I've read so far the above responses describe my feelings. I really enjoyed what I've already read. Look forward to the remainder of the books.Published 7 months ago by B. L. Miller
These are brilliant novels that reflect the feel, time and darkness of Noir. I loved them all.Published 19 months ago by EF Sweetman
Pulp becomes flesh, and lives. These stories have informed almost every great crime/mystery book today. This is where much of it began. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Roger J. Schuman
Something for everyone, Postman Rings Twice is amazing. They shoot horses don't they took me back to a Jane Fonda movie I didn't understand at the time.Published on February 3, 2014 by Bruce McDowell
No better collection available, nice presentation; you can always quibble with selections but considering copyright problems and similar impediments, this is an excellent... Read morePublished on November 2, 2013 by Paraducks
This indispensable collection is perfect for either casual noir fans or diehards looking for extra copies of books they probably already have, assuming they are actual diehards and... Read morePublished on December 21, 2012 by T. Batten