RARA-AVIS: Re: Writing the same book, over and over

From: Vince Emery ( vince@emery.com)
Date: 04 Dec 2003

One of the many things I enjoy about Hammett is that he did not repeat himself. He never wrote the same novel twice.

Each of his six novels (if you count the two linked novelettes "The Big Knockover"/"$106,000 Blood Money" as one of his novels, and I do) differs greatly from his others. Because of this, when someone tells me they love Hammett or hate Hammett, I ask, "Which Hammett novels have you read?" For each of the six, someone has named it and told me it was great or it was Hammett's best novel, but someone else said the same book was Hammett's worst.

In fact, when I was on a panel about Hammett a couple of years ago, an audience member asked us jointly, "What is your favorite Hammett novel, and why?" and between us we named 4 different favorite Hammett novels. And our reasons why were completely distinct.

Which leads me to one of the other things I enjoy about Hammett. His work says different things to different readers. When I look at what people write about his work or what they say about it, their comments often tell me more about them than about Hammett.

Vince Emery Specialist in marketing communications Author, public speaker, teacher, and consultant Box 460279, San Francisco, CA 94146 USA vince@emery.com Phone 1.415.337.6000

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