Hardboiled Detective Fiction: Literary Greats: Background information when reading The Search

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The Search

by Geoff Dyer

The Search
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  • Paperback:
    May 2014, 176 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Morgan Macgregor

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Beyond the Book:
Hardboiled Detective Fiction: Literary Greats

Even if it does veer off into other categories, The Search could be essentially classified as hardboiled detective fiction.

In the 1920s and early 1930s, Dashiell Hammett became the preeminent writer in the field. Until this time, detective stories were lumped in with the rest of "crime fiction," with the focus being on a plot that would elicit shock, awe and horror from the reader. Hammett popularized a style whereby the detective approached his work with cynicism ("hardboiled" refers to an egg, inferring a tough shell). His hardboiled protagonists spoke to the reader about their perceptions, and looked upon the horrors of their job with a jaded, detached eye.

Shortly after Hammett become popular, Raymond Chandler came onto the scene and solidified the genre. Chandler was a highly literate British-American who spent his formative years in England, and so when he finally settled in Los Angeles as a young man, he had both an impressive vocabulary and a unique outsider's ...

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