The French have a name for it: noir

Farewell My Lovely aka Murder My Sweet

PI Philip Marlowe has the poet’s eye for the softer edges of existence while enmeshed in the hard reality of greed, corruption, and criminal passions.  The smell of places, dirt and dust, smog, rain, the sun on baking asphalt, the twilight that has no sunlight lit by dull incandescent bulbs that throw shadows in bars where angst is held at bay for as long as a shot of  booze does its job. A respite from the desperate loneliness of men and women in big cities where ethical conduct and loyalty are not rewarded but ridiculed, and get you into trouble, and deep.  You give up on true relationships and, well, love, it just doesn’t bare thinking about.

 “I watched the cab out of sight. I went back up the steps and into the bedroom and pulled the bed to pieces and remade it. There was a long dark hair on one of the pillows. There was a lump of lead at the pit of my stomach. The French have a phrase for it. The bastards have a phrase a for everything and they are always right.  To say good-bye is to die a little.”

– [Raymond Chandler, ‘The Long Goodbye’]

One thought on “The French have a name for it: noir”

  1. “To say good-bye is to die a little.”

    Ha, indeed! Well the reference to the French here is quite a provocative one, and the entire psychology of the noir hero (anti-hero) is encapsulated in this brilliant prose. Words rarely convey and describe so much as to the workings of the mind.


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