The recently published Noir: A Novel (Overlook Press) is Coover's first in eight years, but in its total cinematic immersion takes up right where Lucky Pierre left off. The protagonist is "you," Philip M. Noir, a clumsy, forgetful, and lecherous private investigator who inhabits a permanently nocturnal labyrinthine cityscape right out of a chiaroscuroed crime thriller. Initially hired by a mysterious and beautiful veiled widow to find her husband's killer, Noir must now find her own murderer in an underworld populated by cantankerous cops (Blue), sultry nightclub singers (Flame), and seedy criminal informants (Rats). The real investigation for Coover, however, is into his usual concerns—memory, consciousness, identity, sex, the constant flux of a deceivingly malleable "reality," the intertwining of cinema and literature—with the dark, bawdy humor (a moll's fading full-body tattoo, used to relay messages between rival yakuza, is described as "suffering the fate of all history, which is only corruptible memory") and impeccable stream of consciousness prose that are his trademarks."
Click here to read Michael Rowin's interview with Robert Coover.