Postmodern fiction, including crime fiction, is sometimes thought to be without coherence or identifiable meaning — Symons judged Paul Auster’s City of Glass (1985) ‘a clever, sterile book’ (1992: 332). But postmodernism rejects concepts of consistency and subjective identity as based on constraining systems, whether belonging to classical realist fiction or to modernism. In postmodern fiction coincidence, overlapping accounts and indeterminacy arise from plot motifs, while parody, irony and inconsequence are technical tools to dislodge the classic novel’s faith in a single subject, operating in ordered time and with a definite, moralising purpose. Postmodern crime fiction has special importance because major early postmodernists employed the sub-genre to establish positions against rationality and humanism. As argued first by Michael Holquist (1971), and eleborated by Tani (1984) and Merivale and Sweeney (1999), writers like Borges, Butor and Eco showed how crime fiction can, by being less determinate in its puzzles and less simply resolved in its processes and outcomes, become a medium to question certainties about the self, the mind and the ambient world.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Diversity: Postmodernity, Body, City
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number