From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 04 Nov 2002

"As I mentioned earlier, I would have sworn that there were some internal thoughts of Spade's in FALCON, especially concerning the women, but when I reread it, it became apparent that anything he was thinking was transferred to the reader by direct observation."

This reminds me of seeing the group My Bloody Valentine (or Glenn Branca, for that matter). They played a single note, very loudly, for 17 minutes. After a few minutes, your mind begins to fill in things like melody. It seems to me that Hammett does much the same, stay right at the fact, leading the reader to fill in his own emotions. As Mario has pointed out, this is very hard to do well. Who else has succeeded?

"At the other end of the spectrum are novels which provide a thorough description of every character's thoughts after every line of dialogue. Baker's YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN is not far from this category. As Mario said about one of Harris's books, it leaves little for the reader to contribute."

This strikes me as similar to McLuhan's distinction between hot and cool media.

"Incidentally, GLASS KEY is one of the books I picked up out in D.C. I believe that Carrie said it was Hammett's favorite. I'm looking forward to reading it."

Afterwards, be sure to watch the Coen Brothers' Miller's Crossing, which draws heavily on it (as well as Red Harvest). I liked it a lot more than The Glass Key with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake (not that I didn't also enjoy it, just like the Coen's more).


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 04 Nov 2002 EST