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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Singapore Noir, by various Singapore authors

Edited by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
An early-reviewers copy via LibraryThing.com 

This collection of short noir fiction dealing with the underbelly of Singapore did not meet my expectations. I liked certain aspects found within some of the stories and a few that, in their entirety, were okay. Yet most did not possess the literary aptitude I anticipated. I was never fully engaged by these stories because I was constantly distracted by the below average to average structural quality and character development. Much of the writing was prosaic and felt unnatural. I had looked forward to that gritty, hypnotic narrative prevalent in the noir genre. Instead, I was extremely underwhelmed and disappointed.

Akashic Books has published a number of books under the Noir series. I read Boston Noir when it was first published, and if I remember accurately, I enjoyed stories by David Foster Wallace, Joyce Carol Oates, Andre Dubus, and authors of similar literary strengths. It was because of this book that I requested Singapore Noir from LibraryThing Early Reviwer's program. I mention this because one book can lead a person towards or away from additional books within a series. Had Singapore been my first Noir read, I would never have looked at another from this series. As it stands, I do not know whether or not I will pick up another. I am sure I will look over any that arrive in the Library, just in case. It is possible there are just a few bad apples within this whole batch and I happened to read one of them.

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