Studies in Literature, Film and New Media
Edited By Anna Kędra-Kardela and Andrzej Sławomir Kowalczyk
CHAPTER SIX: First-Person Noir: Murderousness and (Ir)rationality in Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction
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First-Person Noir: Murderousness and (Ir)rationality in Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction
JORGE BASTOS DA SILVA
“A normality-challenged teenage eccentric”
In his acclaimed 1984 novel The Wasp Factory, Scottish author Iain Banks presents the story of Frank Cauldhame, a sixteen-year-old boy with a disability whose true condition will remain a mystery for most of the narrative. The opening paragraphs of the novel introduce Frank’s own voice:
I had been making the rounds of the Sacrifice Poles the day we heard my brother had escaped. I already knew something was going to happen; the Factory told me.
At the north end of the island, near the tumbled remains of the slip where the handle of the rusty winch still creaks in an easterly wind, I had two Poles on the far face of the last dune. One of the Poles held a rat head with two dragonflies, the other a seagull and two mice. I was just sticking one of the mouse heads back on when the birds went up into the evening air, kaw-calling and screaming, wheeling over the path through the dunes where it went near their nests. I made sure the head was secured, then clambered to the top of the dune to watch with my binoculars. (Banks 2009: 1-2)
The onset of the narrative is a veritable onset on the reader, who is faced straightaway with a grim tranche de...
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