Re: RARA-AVIS: Surprise Endings (was "Unreliable narrator")

From: Robert Elkin (
Date: 13 Nov 2005

Vicki, just a few thoughts-- Well, Walter Huff DOES have a "filipino houseboy"...
(Don't remember if I'm spelling that correctly as regards Cain)...and in one sense, to have racism NOT be a major thing makes it that much more potent (if subtle) a critique of its appearance in its parent Tim Willocks, introducing Thompson:
"On the rare occasions that the average modern Literary writer stumbles onto a powerful image or image system he or she cannot resist wrapping it around themselves and parading up and down the page as if it were a designer dress" Granted, TW doesn't exactly follow his own advice's implications re subtlety (as the disappointing conventional end to GREEN RIVER RISING demonstrates all too clearly), and he may be exercising his pet terrier, Elite, a bit--but this obsevation seems to me one reason why sledgehammer writers like DeLillo and Stone tend to lose appeal after a novel/film or so.
(I think your own Miami Purity succeeds admirably at the subtle treatment of the theme, by the way, beginning right off when Ms. Parlay enters the dry cleaners & speaks with Marisol.) Rob

--- wrote:

> I think Hammet is much worse on the racism/misogyny
> than other writers of
> that period because of the casual assumptions that
> fall into the background. It's
> fine to have a character who's a racist, as a
> character flaw, but it bugs me
> how it's not really a purposeful point in the
> Maltese Falcon. Notice that
> Cain, being in the same era, has no racism, and his
> women might be bad, but
> they're not weak.
> Vicki
> [Non-text portions of this message have been
> removed]

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 13 Nov 2005 EST