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Mon
Aug 15 2011 11:19am

Heart of Darkness: Tragedy and The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson for Noir Week on Tor.comJim Thompson, a twentieth century American pulp author of more than 30 novels, is infamous for writing some of the darkest noir ever put to page. Stephen King, who counts Thompson among his favorite authors, wrote with a kind of awe of Thompson’s bleak stories. “There are three brave lets” in Thompson’s writing, King explained in the introduction to Thompson’s Now and On Earth: “he let himself see everything, he let himself write it down, then he let himself publish it.” While adapting Jim Thompson’s novel The Grifters for film, director Stephen Frears noted a relationship between Thompson’s work and certain elements of classical Greek tragedy. Thompson’s raw, stripped-down noir informs and feeds back into these elements in a hellish kind of positive feedback loop; together, they create an unrepentantly bleak — but absolutely recognizable — vision of modern life. Nowhere is this relationship more evident than in Thompson’s 1952 masterpiece The Killer Inside Me.

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