A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 13, 2013
Florida Glare (fiction genre)

The New Yorker‘s Critic-at-Large Adam Gopnik wrote “In the Back Cabana: The rise and rise of Florida crime fiction” for the June 10, 2013 issue. Gopnik declared that the L.A. noir crime fiction might have been replaced with a new kind—“Florida glare”:

“But another line of crime fiction, at the other peninsular end of the country, may have supplanted the L.A.-noir tradition as a paperback mirror of American manners—the fiction of Florida glare. In this genre, as Dave Barry, a late-arriving practitioner, puts it, a bunch of “South Florida wackos”—all heavily armed, all loquacious, all barely aware of one another’s existence—blunder through petty crime, discover themselves engaged in actual murder, and then move in unconscious unison toward the black comedy of a violent climax. ”

The “Florida glare” term was quickly picked up by Florida’s newspapers.


The New Yorker
A Critic at Large
In the Back Cabana
The rise and rise of Florida crime fiction.

by Adam Gopnik
June 10, 2013
(...)
But another line of crime fiction, at the other peninsular end of the country, may have supplanted the L.A.-noir tradition as a paperback mirror of American manners—the fiction of Florida glare. In this genre, as Dave Barry, a late-arriving practitioner, puts it, a bunch of “South Florida wackos”—all heavily armed, all loquacious, all barely aware of one another’s existence—blunder through petty crime, discover themselves engaged in actual murder, and then move in unconscious unison toward the black comedy of a violent climax. This line begins in John D. MacDonald’s “color-coded” books (“The Dreadful Lemon Sky,” “Free Fall in Crimson”), of the sixties and seventies; moves through Elmore Leonard’s talky, episodic Florida novels of the eighties; engages Barry as a comic outlier; and eventually leads to Carl Hiaasen, the Miami newspaperman who has, for the past few decades, written a new crime novel practically every two years.

The New Yorker
June 11, 2013
Twitter’s “Florida Man”
Posted by Emily Greenhouse
Adam Gopnik wrote in the Fiction Issue about a new genre of crime thriller that “may have supplanted the L.A.-noir tradition as a paperback mirror of American manners—the fiction of Florida glare.” American manners indeed: this is a literature in which “ ‘South Florida wackos’—all heavily armed, all loquacious, all barely aware of one another’s existence—blunder through petty crime, discover themselves engaged in actual murder, and then move in unconscious unison toward the black comedy of a violent climax.” The setting, in Gopnik’s words, is “a paradise despoiled,” a land where “ambition, appetite, and an absence of memory lay waste to a once exquisitely delicate environment of wetlands and beaches.”
(...)
Florida may be our greedy nation’s inferno, where—Gopnik again—“rotating groups of creeps and crooks, pursuing their own greedy ends, bounce into and off one another brutally and unintentionally, billiard balls on a worn green baize.” It’s that randomness that grabs our national curiosity by the throat and won’t let us go. Maybe this is why some of us can’t get enough of “Florida Man”: we never know what hysterical and horrible weirdness is coming next.

The Ledger (Lakeland, FL)
LedgerLit
New Yorker writer explores Florida crime fiction

Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 2:21 by Gary White
Adam Gopnik recently published a thoughtful and amusing piece in The New Yorker on what he termed Florida Glare — as opposed to L.A. Noir, the dominant mode of crime fiction in the middle decades of the last century.

Gopnik, one of my favorite writers, focuses much of his attention (rightly so) on Carl Hiaasen, though he also acknowledges his Florida predecessors, such as John D. MacDonald. Gopnik refers to Skink, a recurring character in Hiaasen’s novels, as “a sort of Lawton Chiles with survivalist training.” He also includes a reference to Lakeland resident Tom Corcoran, author of the Alex Rutledge mysteries.

Tampa Bay (FL) Times
In literature, a new lurid genre: ‘Florida glare’
Times staff
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 4:30am
For readers in the Gunshine State, fed a steady diet of “Florida man” buffoonery, the weird and wicked cartoon crime of a Carl Hiaasen plot can struggle to sound novel. New Yorker critic Adam Gopnik used the publication of Hiaasen’s latest work (Bad Monkey, Alfred A. Knopf) to muse on the significance of a genre he calls “Florida glare,” in contrast to the older tradition of “L.A. noir.” The body of work Hiaasen and his fellow Florida mystery writers (MacDonald, Leonard, Dorsey et al) have produced is not just a commercial gold mine, but, Gopnik argues, a profound statement about how Floridians view the world they inhabit. It starts with the notion that unlike the “L.A. noir” works of Hammett and Chandler, there is no vast hidden conspiracy, just a “black comedy of coincidences.”

“In the Florida-glare novel of the past thirty years, nothing connects, but everything coincides. Every little group turns out to overlap with another. Since sexual appetite is easily fulfilled and essentially without limits (women now publish their own lurid photographs), sex and shame are no longer motives. This is a society without basic repressions. There are no dirty secrets. The movement is not from the center of the country to the edge, from rural to urban, but from south to north: emigration from South America and Cuba, bringing with it clan manners and, of course, a steady run of cocaine.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Florida (Sunshine State Dictionary) • Saturday, July 13, 2013 • Permalink