--- In email@example.com, Patrick King <abrasax93@...> wrote:
> Yeah, favorite seems strong to me, too. RED HARVEST is an excellent first effort. In it we see many elements that Hammett develops in his masterpieces: Political cowards, children who reject that parents' values, powerful men who are prisoners of their position, gangsters who have redeeming qualities, immoral women with wisdom and cunning, police officials who make up the rules as they go. But none of these in RED HARVEST are worked up to the extent they will be in THE GLASS KEY, THE THIN MAN, & THE MALTESE FALCON. To me RED HARVEST is almost a sketch of things to come.
Well, the word favorite refers a given person who favors it... how can one argue with that?
I think Red Harvest is excellent, I don't think it's inferior to any of the other novels. I would put The Gutting of Couffignal on the same level, it's a great story. I recently reread the volume The Continental Op and am rereading The Big Knockover collection, fantastic stuff. One thing that strikes me is the clarity of Hammett's writing. Even in complicated stories, he keeps things straight, the style and narration are totally natural.
I don't particularly think Hammett was evolving towards anything in particular. He was fully formed as a writer by the time he wrote Red Harvest.
I suspect he would have excelled at whatever type of fiction he tackled, but unfortunately, he dried up or lost the will, or something. Or he didn't read Ovid in time.
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