RARA-AVIS: bloated characterizations?

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 29 Oct 2001

Juri wrote

>As for Hammett's "Harvest", I can understand it is dull to someone. >It's
>so tense and brief that readers who like deep characterizations (bloated,
>if you ask me) that are so popular in crime and thriller >genre nowadays.
>But they are wrong and they should read more Hammett.

I can't tell if you're kidding or not; it never occurred to me that somebody could enjoy the "wrong" thing (well, OK, if you enjoy mutilating puppies for fun and profit, I'm willing to stick my neck out and say that's wrong, but let's stick to books). My thesis was that today's readers generally seem to want more character driven stories than Hammett provides in RH. That doesn't mean these readers are better or worse than Red Harvest junkies, just that our expectations of genre fiction are different. And do you really think there's no middle ground between Hammett's thumbnail sketches and "bloated" story telling? Are Connelly, Crumley, Lehane, and Pelecanos all "bloated" because their characters generally receive more than a couple sentences worth of description/development before they start shooting each other?


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