It's happened again. Turns out the French introduced me to another noir classic without my knowledge. I've already written about the first time, when Francois Truffaut's film Confidentially Yours (which I've always liked) turned out to be based on a novel by noir great Charles Williams, The Long Saturday Night. Now, thanks to the new Library of America volume of David Goodis novels, I have belatedly discovered that the half-remembered Gerard Depardieu movie Moon in the Gutter, which I muddled through in college, desperately wanting to like it, is based on a Goodis novel of the same name.
First things first: thank you, France. We gave you back the key to the Bastille and called it quits. But you keep giving and giving. A friend of mine once wrote a novel that couldn't find a publisher here in the United States, but it was published in France. My response: "That is my dream." They don't call me Bertrand for nothing.
Franophilia aside, as I creep through the chapters of Goodis' novel late at night (which is the best time for reading noir), I find myself wondering, "Where have I been all my life? Was I not paying attention?" Suppose everything I've ever liked turns out to be based on a book? (Fine idea.) Suppose they're all books by famous authors I've somehow managed not to read? (Embarassing notion.) And I call myself a writer.
There's more about the Goodis volume in the Wall Street Journal, including some hard-boiled recommendations I've added to my to-read list.