Recently came out a very full volume, an all in one of Dashiell hammett that will delight all readers who discovered in the American author at the great writer of the most original noir genre, the one that emerged from popular literature and fanzine deliveries to end up transforming a subgenre into a mass black gender.
It is fair to cite others as Raymond Chandler. Each one from their creative imprint and their style ended up raising the genre most disenchanted with the thriving American dream in a capital literature with millions of readers around the world. The stream continues to this day, reaching the level of best-selling genre for decades and decades.
What is clear is that Hammett was the pioneer. His first novel published in 1929, at the age of 34, already pointed to that trend that disconnected with the purest police genre, with well-defined limits between good and evil, to tackle more ambiguous and confusing plots, with protagonists attacked by their demons particular, their traumas and their faults and that sometimes seem to succumb to evil, like new Jesus Christ accepting the temptations of the devil.
It may be that in those contradictory and more human characters, with an investigative function but capable of passing through the most sordid of society, they caught readers first in the hard-boiled and later in novels narrated in greater depth but that preserved the dialogues and explicit scenes of violence and sex.
The morbid in the literary was served for the first time in literature. That taste for the macabre, for the dark side of the human being, that peering into the abyss supposed a kind of literary catharsis that penetrated critics and readers.
The black genre will always be in debt to Hammett, the first author capable of narrating about the shadows of the human being in society and who found the perfect breeding ground in the midst of the crisis of the 30s in the United States and around the world. His dedication to literature was not a total dedication. In fact, barely a decade was spent in a life squeezed to the fullest. You probably stopped writing when the rest of things in life caught your attention more intensely.
3 Recommended Novels By Dashiell Hammett
The Maltese Falcon
We find Hammett's second novel, a work in which a story of polar opposites is composed. Squalor versus idealization.
Hammett seemed to be able to accommodate it all, the need for harsher criticism through bloody realism, and the no less strong will to change things. But apart from the deepest intention, the plot drives the reader into a frenzy.
The statue of the falcon, a very representative figure of the Knights of the Order of Malta, becomes an object of historical desire of various factions. What the human being is capable of doing for the symbols of power. Heightened passions and unleashed violence. Adventures full of risk and pure vitalism.
Sam Spade, the great Hammett detective, does not get rid of that consideration of the human as a species that succumbs to all animosity in order to achieve its end. In Hammett the cinema soon found a great ally. Both this novel and other novels jumped onto the great scene at the hands of great directors and renowned actors.
The curse of the Dain
In this novel, with an action not as hasty as the previous one, Hammett takes the opportunity to recreate himself with the characters. Because Hammett became a virtuoso in that essential art of characterization.
Reading this novel you can see the protagonist, his grin, without the author having described it. And in this way the whole of the novel advances with greater intensity and empathy. For Hammett, this reflection of the human being shaken by an adverse social situation in the particular and decadent in general was fundamental.
Gabrielle Dain's fatal character wanders the world like a plague turned into a person. Death seems to follow her closely and is responsible for eliminating anyone who crosses her path. But that fatality has a trick and a plan. Discovering it leads the reader to the deepest reflection.
Hammett's first novel came directly from the hard-boiled, that cultured, fasciculate literature that was racked between shelves relegated by booksellers or directly from magazine issues.
In other words, the black genre will probably have its first great book hit the streets in Red Harvest without complexes. The story centers on Personville (or Poisonville, as the protagonist calls it, an investigator arrived in a city that is horrible to him).
In that coal-black city, the souls of its neighbors seem tinged by that same mineral effect. So, when evil is unleashed in Personville, there comes a time when as a reader you no longer know who are worse, the members of criminal gangs or those who under the protection of the law are led by easy violence and total disregard towards people.