Re: RARA-AVIS: San Francisco

From: M Blumenthal (
Date: 02 Oct 2001

From: Rob Preston:

> Having lived in the Bay Area for 10 years (in the suburbs, Fremont), San
> Francisco is basically just known as "The City". If you say that, everyone
> knows what you are talking about, there is no other City, and no
> of their being another one to bay area inhabitants. If you say "San Fran"
> and you sound like a dork. ...
> I've been to a lot of cities but I have never encountered a place like
> It is really a very small place geographically with a very diverse
> culture.

Rob, Natives of NYC also don't consider there is any city than their own.I'm a native of Boston. It too is very small in area.. It has been hemmed in by political barriers as opposed to San Francisco's geographic ones. Because its area schools attract students from all over the world it also has many people of differing origins, though many of them live across the Charles River in Cambridge where Harvard and M.I.T. are located.

To keep on topic the area also has seen an explosion of hard boiled and medium boiled writers in the last thirty or forty years probably inspired first by George Higgins and a little later Robert Parker. We'll get to that next month. Mark
> Rob
> > Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 00:40:22 -0500
> > From: "M Blumenthal" <>
> > Subject: RARA-AVIS: Theme of the month - San Francisco
> >
> > We are moving a little north this month. I was thinking about books
> written
> > about the two cities. Except for books with the LAPD being an important
> > element, books about LA rarely seem to be about an urban area. Chandler
> and
> > Ross MacDonald wrote about southern California but mainly their favorite
> > suburb. Most books set in San Francisco seems to have the gritty feel
> > the city. I am always struck by Bogart in John Houston's version of The
> > Maltese Falcon when he is mailing the package holding the falcon Captain
> > Jacoby gave his life to deliver. All Bogart writes is his address and
> 'City'
> > There is no possibility of there being any other city.
> >
> > I have to confess the only time I ever was in San Francisco was when I
> > picked up at the airport, driven
> > driven through it to Berkely and then driven back a few days later. My
> image
> > of the city has been formed by movies like Bullitt and the Dirty Harry
> > series. I have also read Hamett, but that's a view of a city two
> generations
> > past. Greenleaf's Tanner and Prozini's Nameless have written many books
> set
> > in the city, but they are marginally hb. Joe Gores' DKA series which are
> > almost PI procedurals have their foundation in his having worked for
> twelve
> > years as a private investigator/skip tracer. . He has written a lot of
> stand
> > alones as well. They are often set in San Francisco such as HAMMETT and
> > INTERFACE. I guess we can discuss Hammett's San Francisco of the late
> 20's
> > and the 30's or these modern writers.
> >
> > Anyone who lives in the city or knows its relevance to hb fiction is
> welcome
> > to contribute.
> > Mark
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