Sunday, February 17, 2019

Well, maybe …

 Muscle by Alan Trotter review – a new take on noir | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

When a writer enters this literary territory, they are instantly going toe-to-toe with Raymond Chandler. You need strength, then technique, but you also need grace. The first part of the noir sentence is easy enough to pull off: it gets action done minimally but elegantly. It’s the set-up punch: “His moustache twitched …” Any writer can write that. But then you get to the pivotal word “like”. After this, you’re on your own. You have to deliver the follow-through. Trotter’s moustache-twitching sentence continues, “… like a car veering into oncoming traffic”. It’s balanced, light on its toes – a sweet punch. Chandler might win on points, but this fight could go the distance.
I don't know. I have a hard time visualizing a mustache twitching like a car, because I have a hard time visualizing a car twitching like a mustache. But that may just be me.

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