Continental Ops: Crossing Borders in North American Crime Narrative

Adams Rachel

in Continental Divides

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226005515
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226005539 | DOI:
Continental Ops: Crossing Borders in North American Crime Narrative

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This chapter explains how detective novels from Canada, the United States, and Mexico have approached the subject of cross-border crime, and what those representations tell about how North Americans view their closest neighbors. The contemporary North American detective novels from three very different cultural contexts provide a revealing example of what Fredric Jameson called an “ideology of form,” the implicit beliefs and values that reside in a work's generic structure. Genres tell documents of the institutions and values that are important to a given society. When they migrate across borders, it becomes especially apparent which values travel and which are rooted in a very particular place and time. The detective novel, which explores the commission of crime and the restoration of order, has proved to be a vital medium for North Americans to reflect on their place in an increasingly integrated continent where people and things move across national borders.

Keywords: cross-border; North Americans; crime; detective novels; genres; national borders

Chapter.  12634 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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