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: email@example.com [firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Kevin Burton Smith [email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, March 07, 2009 11:34 AM
Subject: RARA-AVIS: Spade and Archer
On Mar 7, 2009, at 3:34 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:rara-avis-l%40yahoogroups.com> 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
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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