My book group read DETROIT NOIR for July. Not my idea since I knew they'd find it troubling--both the genre aspect and the way Detroit comes off in it.
Almost all of the women in this group were raised in Detroit when it was a city to be reckoned with. DETROIT NOIR reminded us once again that things have changed since 1965.
I said I wanted to look at Detroit in a kinder light, but this book was not the place to begin. I can thumb through it and find disturbing passages about Detroit in every story. Or even those set forty years in the past. That's as long as I've lived here. They remember another Detroit. I don't.
My group is not normally "noir" readers. Our typical selections are books like The Kite Runner, Reading Lolita in Tehran and Nickel and Dimed.
What was most remarkable about DETROIT NOIR, and I've read a lot of books in this series, is how dominant Detroit is. The city seems to overwhelm every story. No character or plot can outplay Detroit. I didn't find this to be the case in other volumes.
I think Eric Olsen and John Hocking did an excellent job in choosing the stories. And I say this as someone whose story was rejected. Not all of the stories are noir but every story in this book says something about Detroit. And that's a pretty fine achievement. It may not have been my group's favorite book, but it was good for us all to read it. Sometimes dark stories need to be told.
My Town Monday is the brain child of Travis Erwin, but this week check out Barrie Summy's blogsite at http://barriesummy.blogspot.com for other stories this week.