The Noir Nation Facebook page can be found by clicking here.
The Noir Nation Facebook page can be found by clicking here.
Aroon Thaewchatturat, who contributed her tattoo photography to Noir Nation No. 2, discusses sacred tattoos, called sak yant in Thailand, speaks in this video about the animating totem spirits that possess believers during a religious rite. She co-authored with Tom Vater, Sacred Skin, the first English language book on Thailand’s sacred tattoos. Sacred Skin has been reviewed in more than 30 publications, including Time Magazine, and has been the subject of two documentaries, Arte and Die Zeit.
The interview took place at Wat Bang Phra, a Buddhist temple in Nakhon Pathom Province, Thailand, about 50 km west of Bangkok.
Below is the book trailer for Sacred Skin. It offers an incredibly rich preview of Aroon’s sublime images.
Noir Nation is an eBook journal of high quality crime fiction, essays, and author interviews, illustrated with living art: tattoos.
Issue No. 2 is rich with stories that tell of being stopped at a tense Israeli checkpoint, a man reflecting on the death of his sadistic mother while getting a tattoo, hunting jaguars in the Chimalapas jungle, a fatal conversation between a married couple on a Japanese mountain cliff, the consummation of a macabre wedding in Tangiers, a German psychopath who thinks himself a werewolf, a missing prostitute in Cambodia’s red light district, a Boston businessman trying to survive a murderous economy, barroom pickups that turn deadly, soldiers captured in World War II taking grisly revenge on their guards, the renovation of a theater that hides a crime, a pistol-packing Harlem grandmother who fends for her young, a road trip from New Orleans to Vancouver that ends in a Pulp Fiction style shootout, and hitchhikers who should have kept hiking.
Contributors hail from no less than sixteen countries: Finland, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Israel, Cuba, Canada, Columbia, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Entries include stories by classic noir writers such as Edogawa Rampo, considered by many the father of Japanese crime fiction; Paul Calderon, an actor who appears regularly on the television show Law & Order and who played Paul the bartender in the film Pulp Fiction; and first-time authors Mary Therese Gattuso, Hubert Osprey, and Pierce Loughran.
Afficionados of hardboiled crime noir will see new works by Nick Arvin, Ray Banks, Paul Calderon, Atar Hadari, Sophie Jaff, Susan Lercher, Julia Madeleine, Court Merrigan, Joe L. Murr, Andrew Nette, Thomas Pluck, Victor Quintas, Stephen D. Rogers, Ulrike Rudolf, Bob Thurber, Ruben Varona, Corinna Underwood, and Tom Vater.
The issue also contains an interview with Madison Smartt Bell talking about blowing his knees with Tae Kwon Do and the influence on his fiction by Harry Crews, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and Dostoyevsky. And darkly disturbing entries from 400-year-old London’s Criminal Court logs that show how little has changed in the human drive to murder, maim, and enslave others.
Tattoo photos by Miguel Angel, Madeline Keller-Yunes, Julia Madeleine, Ilya Shchanikov, Shaireproductions.com, Aroon Thaewchatturat, and Chris Willis.
Translations by Andrew Kirk, Rowena Galavitz, Mary Tannert, and Eddie Vega.
We are now headed for the homestretch. Soon. Very soon. Noir Nation No. 2 will launch. In the meantime, here is an image by Ilya Shchanikov that will be appearing in its digital pages.
In every issue of Noir Nation we hold a special place for works of classic noir. In Noir Nation No. 1, we published a poem by Bonnie Parker, of the infamous Bonnie & Clyde crime team killed in an ambush by a posse in 1934. (We are putting the finishing touches on the reissue of No. 1 and it will soon be available for download. The image above will appear among the licensed illustrations that will serve as story dividers.)
This year’s classic reprint will be “The Precipice” by Edogawa Rampo, considered by many the father of Japanese crime fiction. We think there should be greater global awareness of Rampo’s imaginative genius and are grateful to his family for granting us permission to publish an original translation of the story.
It occurred to us while editing the images for No. 1, that this particular image of the geisha on the precipice would be an appropriate illustration for an excerpt of “The Precipice.” And so here they are together, for the first time in history…
(Translated by Eddie Vega)
IT IS SPRING. Atop a precipice about a kilometer from K—, two persons sit on a rock. From the bottom of the valley below echoes the faint murmur of a river. The Man is 25 years old. The Woman is older. Having just exited the thermal pools of the hotel where they are staying, both wear padded kimonos.
Woman: Is it not strange that after all this time we have not spoken about those incidents that haunt our memories? At times I think I shall choke on them if we don’t. Given how free we are today, perhaps we can talk about them a little? You wouldn’t mind, would you, Darling?
Man: Of course not, Darling. But you go first.
Woman: Good. Let’s see… I shall start from the beginning. It was night and I was in bed next to Saito. He was crying as always with his face touching mine, and his tears ran unceasingly into my mouth…
Man: Don’t go into detail! Spare me the intimacies between you and your first husband.
Woman: But it’s an important part of the story because that is how I first learned of his plans. Nevertheless, for your sake, I will skip the details. So it was after tasting the saltiness of his tears that I figured something strange was occurring. That night he was crying more intensely than usual — from some secret cause I surmised. Frightened, I pulled away to better gaze at his eyes bathed in tears.
Man: It must have turned your blood to ice… to see that the happiness of matrimony could be transformed so easily into fear. I remember, from what you had told me, that you perceived a deep shame in his eyes when he returned your gaze.
Woman: Yes, his eyes communicated with keen eloquence the pain he felt for me. I believe the most intimate secrets of a man can be seen in his eyes. And on that occasion, I had no doubt, Saito’s eyes communicated so clearly that I knew his thoughts.
Man: That he was planning to kill you?
Woman: Yes, of course, but it was all a kind of game for him. As you know, he was a sadist, and I the exact opposite. That was the real reason why we both desired to play that game. It’s undeniable that we loved each other, but it was not enough, and we felt an irresistible urge to seek greater excitement behind closed doors.
[...Continued in Noir Nation No. 2...]