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Lillian and Dash by Sam Toperoff

Lillian and Dash

by Sam Toperoff

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The only thing I knew about Hellman and Hammett were their contributions to the movies, the theatre and the dime novel, so I really enjoyed this peek into their private lives and the author's ability to turn his research into a very readable piece of fiction. ( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
Too much telling, too much effort to be charming. ( )
  picardyrose | Feb 27, 2014 |
As a rule, I steer away from reading novels taking prominent historical figures (Hemingway, Churchill, Lincoln) as their protagonists. It seems like a cheap way to develop the main character since we already know a lot about them. This novel re-imagining the lives and relationship of Lillian Hellman (I have not seen any of her plays) and Dashiell Hammett (I've read most of his books) caught my eye, and I think it works impressively well. Mr. Toperoff is an experienced writer, and that becomes evident in the subtle ways he handles the characters of Lilly and Dash. They were passionate and sensitive lovers for over three decades with often long periods of separation between their visits. Hammett comes off as having the saddest life, especially in his later years after the U.S. government and IRS hounded him for his political leanings. I guess the right of free speech was skipped during the witch hunts. He actively served in two world wars and most of the committee members he testified in front of had little or even no military service. Interestingly enough, he had the last laugh and is buried in Arlington Memorial Cemetery with the other fallen veterans. I had some quibbles but then who doesn't when reading a novel? Overall, I was nothing short of entertained and learned a few things to boot. Great job! ( )
  edlynskey | Feb 15, 2014 |
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This exciting novel about Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man) and Lillian Hellman (The Children{8217}s Hour) reintroduces their larger-than-life personalities and the vicissitudes of their affair that spanned three decades. Toperoff reimagines the highs and lows of a fast-living, hard-drinking literary couple, and their individual passions, projects, and literary creations. Hammett and Hellman{8217}s relationship evolves during major artistic and political epochs{8212}Hollywood{8217}s heyday, the New York literary scene, the Spanish Civil War, McCarthyism, and both world wars{8212}and each movement is captured with subjectivity and credible insight. Populated with writers, drinkers, filmmakers, and revolutionaries, Lillian and Dash chronicles the unusual affair of two prominent and headstrong figures.… (more)

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