Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Review: Of Tender Sin

Of Tender Sin Of Tender Sin by David Goodis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is not so much crime-noir as psycho-noir. It is the second Goodis book I've read that featured a protagonist with incestuous overtones towards his sister and also the second Goodis book that also channels Malcom Lowry's Under the Volcano, but these are not the same books, so that makes three, a menage a trois of incest and Lowry-esque out-of-the headness. Need to read more to confirm, but think Goodis had a fixation. The protagonist in this novel seems mental for most of the book and that is never resolved. The novel doesn't so really end (resolve), instead it just stops. The protag is basically in the same place as in the beginning. Yes, he may know something about the platinum blonde woman (women). Yes, he may know whom his wife has been calling. But we readers are really in no better place to make a decision on our protagonist's state of mind or fate than we were at the beginning of the novel. The psychological torment continues from beginning end. So, on that criteria, this is a superb psychological noir where the dilemma facing the protagonist never really gets solved. For a book written in 1952? A solid candidate for the existentialist canon. Oh, and there is an amazing scene involving a scalping with bare hands! Surely that is a one of a kind!

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