Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mystery Month Preview

Rights Readers discovered some time ago that reading detective fiction can be a fun way to explore serious human rights issues-- after all, mysteries are all about the search for justice.  Today's Los Angeles Times brings us an article on the social consciousness of some local mystery writers.  Rights Reader favorite Walter Mosley (Little Scarlet) and our August author, Naomi Hirahara (Summer of the Big Bachi) get a mention.  Of her father (survivor of Hiroshima and the inspiration for her fictional gardner hero, Mas Arai) she says,
"Some drivers passing my father tending someone's lawn and garden may have thought nothing of him, but in fact he had survived and witnessed one of the horrific events of the 20th century," ... "I wanted to give a voice to people like this."
Mosley observes,
"At this point there are feminist, black, Japanese writers," he said. "And they think, 'Hey, I could tell this story in this genre. Certainly the people who have had critical success have spoken more to the social implications.' "

The protagonist of the new noir is still "the existentialist hero, someone standing up against corruption in society," Mosley said. But now "there's a critique not of bad people in society, but of society itself."

The new noir, Mosley said, is not a break from the past. Mystery writer Dashiell Hammett, who famously refused to testify during the anti-Communist witch hunting of the McCarthy era, "was extraordinarily political," Mosley said. "He was the guy who wouldn't name names. He went to prison."
Taking note of the other authors, --Paula L. Woods, Denise Hamilton, Marcos McPeek Villatoro-- mentioned for future Rights Readers mystery months!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...