RE: RARA-AVIS: long post on spillane

From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 24 May 2002

i said:
> when i read fiction, i'm
> looking for it to be "believable", and for it to have some
> sort of depth to stir some emotion in me or make me think.
> it looked to me like spillane was failing on both counts.
************************************** and then randy said: It's interesting you should single Spillane out on this. I think this is endemic to crime fiction in general (including many books mentioned here. Hammett and Chandler stories are hardly filled with fleshed out characters with deep, textured emotions).

At its heart, most crime fiction is very logical, and thus the feelings of the characters are sublimated by their motives (greed, lust, fear of being exposed). These are not things I would count as well developed emotions, but more like the most superficial of them. In most crime fiction, the characters/suspects are merely vehicles to move the story along, take you off the trail of the real criminal..etc.

i see your point, and with some books (especially hammett's
_red harvest_), i would agree totally. but hardboiled is such a big playing ground that it is hard to make almost any generic statement. to me, marlowe is a spectacularly drawn character. his one-liners express his cynical attitude, and there are unspoken memories within him which churn him. i'd say that marlowe is both complex and mysterious.

and a few of the contemporary authors, like t.j. parker or james lee burke for instance, show their protagonists just about drowning in emotions, introspection, and (i just love the phrase) inner demons. block's scudder, too.

i gotta go... more lies later. ;-)


# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 24 May 2002 EDT