Monday, 1 September 2008

Chick Noir

Since its inception chick lit has often come in for a bit of a bashing. Many people dismiss it as fluffy, vapid, disposable and even badly written works of fiction. I will be the first to put my hand up and agree that a lot of books in this genre are not worth the pretty paper that they are printed on but on the flip side there are some very good books out there. Authors such as Jane Green, Sophie Kinsella, Louise Bagshawe, Mike Gayle, Robyn Sisman and Lisa Jewell turn in amazing stories and serve chick lit well. There is a new modern fiction category on the block; chick noir which is post modern chick lit with an edge. This differs from chick lit which is all about getting the guy and living happy ever after while chick noir is much more dark and features single women who grow to be happy in their own skin and not obsessive about being married. The pioneer of this exciting genre is Jane Fallon, author of Getting Rid of Matthew and Got You Back. Fallon's talents do not just lie in fiction, she is an established TV producer and has worked on fantastic shows like EastEnders, This Life and Teachers which are infamous for their portrayal of strong women.

Both Fallon's books, Getting Rid of Matthew and Got You Back cover the tales of infidelity and unravels the lives of the wife and the mistress. Getting Rid of Matthew was released last year and secured itself on Richard & Judy's summer read and went to become a bestseller. I am sure that the eye catching cover with a lady in a pencil skirt and stilettos cannot have hurt. However there is no denying that Getting Rid of Matthew is a great piece of fiction. The book tells the story of Helen whose lover, Matthew turns up on her doorstep and announces that he has left his wife. From there you expect the story to take the conventional approach of focusing on the couple and their trials and tribulations but remember that this is not chick lit but chick noir and that calls for a few twists and turns. Hence the entrance of Matthew's wife, Sophie who is picking up the pieces of her broken marriage. Then there is the small matter of Helen deciding that Matthew and her are not right together and hatches a plan to return him to his wife.

Fallon manages to turn Helen who some people would define as a self centred cow into a very sympathetic character. Compelling and extremely funny are the words I would use to describe this book as the writer takes you through the story with style as well as a lot of substance. It is so good that a certain Jennifer Aniston has acquired the rights for her production company, Plan C with plans to turn it into a film. Fallon's new book, Got You Back offers more of the same with two women; wife and mistress colluding to plot the down fall of husband James who has been leading two separate lives. So just as women are leading their lives as they please on TV shows such as Sex and the City and films like The Women, it seems that we have now reached that place in books.

To find out more about Jane Fallon, check out an article in The Guardian here.

1 cool comments:

Kwana said...

Thanks for the book recommendations. I love to check out authors I don't know. These sound wonderful.