Dear reader, life is too short for crap books.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dorothy Parker on Dashiell Hammett's The Glass Key

Stumbled upon this tonight while idly browsing through The Complete New Yorker DVD Set I got for Christmas last year, from the April 25, 1931 issue:

"It is true that he has all the mannerisms of Hemingway, with no inch of Hemingway's scope nor flicker of Hemingway's beauty. It is true that when he seeks to set down a swift, assured, well-bred young woman, he devises speeches for her such as are only equaled by the talk Mr. Theodore Dreiser compiled for his society flapper in "An American Tragedy." It is true that he is so hard-boiled you could roll him on the White House lawn. And it is also true that he is a good, hell-bent, cold-hearted writer, with a clear eye for the ways of hard women and a fine ear for the words of hard men, and his books are exciting and powerful and - if I may filch a word from the booksy ones - pulsing. . . Brutal he is, but his brutality, for what he must write, is clean and necessary. . .He sets down only what his characters say, and what they do."

The Glass Key, however, she describes as a bit labored. Fair enough, but it (and Red Harvest) did make a heck of a movie.

Also, come to think of it, Hammett and Parker would have been a great team in a screwball comedy.

* If there is a nerd in your life, you should seriously consider getting them The Complete New Yorker. Thanks, dad!

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