My Review of Robert Coover’s Noir

My review of Robert Coover’s Noir is in the May, 2010 issue of the Brooklyn Rail. Here’s an excerpt:

Rendered in a tone full of deadpan humor and crepuscular musings, Noir has a lot to admire: a walking punching bag who, though seemingly down for the count, manages to beat the countdown time and again; brilliantly drawn sequences like the grisly “Case of the Severed Hand” (perhaps Coover’s offhand tribute to the phantom hand in Rilke’s The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, or simply a nod to the legendary Arthur Howard fraud case); a masterful juggling of jokes, violence, and mystery; weird Lynchian punctures of the veil between dreams and waking life, where, echoing Noir, I can’t always “be sure what was real and what wasn’t, though in a sense it was all real, because even if I was only imagining it, it was still real, at least in my own mind, the only one I’ve got”; and, as expected of Coover—one of a dying breed of virtuosic stylists—a knowing revivifying of genre tropes.

Thanks, John Reed and Meghan Roe.

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