Re: RARA-AVIS: Thin Man, Hammett and drinking

From: jacquesdebierue (
Date: 06 Oct 2007

--- In, Michael Robison
<miker_zspider@...> wrote:
> Channing wrote:
> Hammett nearly died on different occasions from his
> binge drinking.
> ************
> I don't see The Thin Man as a predominantly funny
> book. It shows a character submerged in alcoholism
> and apathy. There is a deep sense of loss.

To me, The Thin Man has a distinct nasty edge and I cannot read it as comedy. It reminds me of those suburban parties where everybody pretends to be having a lot of fun but people are troubled and the alcohol doesn't erase that. The late John Cheever depicted that anxious world in a nonhardboiled but effective fashion. With Hammett we are in an earlier era but the germ was there, I think. Later, Ross Macdonald would deal with the detritus, even to the point of caricature and without any humor at all.



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