The Huntsville Times
Dissecting the Flitcraft tale
rises to the level of theorizing
why Hamlet waited so long to act
Go read about some 'real' characters
By DAVID PRATHER
If you live in Madison County, or are someone who enjoys great literature, I hope you have immersed yourself in this year's Big Read project, "The Maltese Falcon" by Dashiell Hammett.
The idea behind the Big Read, sponsored by the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, is for everyone to read one novel, then discuss it formally and informally. You can find out the schedule of events at www.hpl.lib.al.us./bigread.
All that's good, but the first thing you must do is read the book.
Those who have seen the movie with Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor will experience deja vu - almost. Much of the film's dialogue comes directly from the book. But some things are different. Hammett, for example, says Sam Spade looks like a "blond Satan" in the novel, which Bogart surely isn't.
Reading the book will also let you to ponder one of literature's timeless conundrums - the meaning of the story Spade tells about a man named Flitcraft. To crime novel enthusiasts, dissecting the Flitcraft tale rises to the level of theorizing why Hamlet waited so long to act.