The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir

Claude Lalumi%C3%A8re and David Nickle. Exile Editions (IPG, North American dist.), $19.95 trade paper (291p) ISBN 978-1-55096-460-8
Editors Lalumière and Nickle (veteran and new anthologists, respectively) have assembled an anthology that is largely successful in its goals. The quality of prose is almost universally high, but the quality of storytelling is highly uneven. It's worth purchasing for several stories alone, including Ada Hoffmann's "Lady Blue and the Lampreys," Patrick Fleming's "A Nothingale," Kelly Robson's "Good for Grapes," and Rich Larson's "This is the Party." However, including Laird Long's "Rooker" and Michael Mirolla's "Safety" does the collection a disservice; the latter's (likely unintentionally) misogynist narratives harken back to the more discomfiting elements of pulp-era and later American noir's longstanding problems with women. The anthology has a small proportion of women authors—just five out of 22—and the majority of stories lack three-dimensional female characters, which is surprising given the well-balanced prior work of both Lalumière and Nickle. Otherwise, the book as a whole works well as a somewhat more progressive, more Canadian take on the broad umbrella of noir as what one contributor calls "a tone, an overlay, a mood." (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 03/01/2015
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