Monday, July 05, 2010

Reader's Diary #626- Dashiell Hammett: The Parthian Shot

Mostly known for detective fiction, especially The Maltese Falcon, I was surprised to find that Dashiell Hammett also wrote flash fiction, and not all of it crime related. There are two available here,"The Parthian Shot" and "Immortality." I'm choosing to focus on the former, because a) I liked it more and b) it tied into a couple other things I read yesterday and I like when unexpected connections pop up.

"The Parthian Shot," a humorous piece about a mother who is unimpressed to find that her infant is a carbon copy of her husband, reminded me briefly of Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson which I'm currently in the middle of reading to my daughter. In Wilson's book there's a mother who is most likely suffering postpartum depression (though that term wasn't known at the time). Certainly Wilson's story is more detailed and serious, but both hers and Hammett's depictions counter the Norman Rockwellish image of a mother looking lovingly into her baby's eyes.

"The Parthian Shot" was also an appropriate follow-up to a Mental Floss article I read yesterday about laws concerning what you name your baby. You'll understand why once you read Hammett's story.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


Teddy Rose said...

Wow, those are both very short stories. I can even read them on my computer screen.

I loved the Mental Floss article.

Sweden- "First names shall not be approved if they can cause offense or can be supposed to cause discomfort for the one using it"

I know some people who really had a tough time in school due to their names. If they were born in Sweden, perhaps they would have been names something else.

I read 100 Word Short Stories by Louise Bannerman

John Mutford said...

Teddy: Ooops, for some reason your link didn't work. Here it is. And I love Mental Floss by the way. A magazine after my heart.

John Mutford said...

Trouble with spammers. If you've commented and it's deleted, my apologies!

Anonymous said...

Hammett is another author that's on my list who I've never gotten around to.

Mine's up, but I was the not overly impressed.

John Mutford said...

Sorry everyone. The Asian spam has gotten out of hand and so I have to have comment moderation turned on, at least for the time being.