RE: RARA-AVIS: Spade and Archer

From: Lawrence William Coates (
Date: 07 Mar 2009

  • Next message: jacquesdebierue: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Spade and Archer"

    I'm reading it now, and while I think it's got some problems, it also offers many pleasures. Who wouldn't want to read about Spade enjoying a seidel of beer with lunch at a tavern on Fell Street. Seidel? I'm going to use that word in every bar I go into from now on. And seeing Harry Bridges show up a dozen years before the Big Strike was great.


    ________________________________________ From: [] On Behalf Of Kevin Burton Smith [] Sent: Saturday, March 07, 2009 11:34 AM To: Subject: RARA-AVIS: Spade and Archer

    On Mar 7, 2009, at 3:34 AM,<> wrote:

    > Guys & Gals,
    > I didn't mean to throw gas on the fire with the MFA comments. I
    > mainly meant to relay a funny story Joe told at one of his
    > signings ... and I did feel that the NY Times reviewer wasn't the
    > right person to review a book like SPADE & ARCHER, since he more or
    > less said he doesn't like Hammett's writing.

    Actually, I think the main point was that he didn't like Gores' writing, or at least Gores' approximation of Hammett's writing, and that Gores overwrote the book at times.

    But none of that should necessarily disqualify him from doing the review, which I thought raised some valid points, some of which illuminated my own feelings. And the reviewer did show familiarity with Hammett's work.

    Overall, I thought it was a fair and thoughtful review, even if I didn't agree with all of it.

    I think there's always a certain amount of self-consciousness about projects like this (and possibly even reviews about projects like this), and SPADE AND ARCHER was no exception , so much so that I was occasionally jerked out of the story by the pretty much obligatory callouts and winks and sly nods.

    But having said that, it was still a hoot. And I did enjoy some of those callouts and winks and sly nods, even if they interrupted the narrative drive.

    This is a book being sold as a high-profile gimmick, so it's pretty much review proof, anyway, particularly among its target audience.

    And we rare birds are very much part of that audience.

    I mean, how many of us won't read it because of the reviews?


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