"The novel concerns a dejected historian in a town similar to Le Havre, who becomes convinced that inanimate objects and situations encroach on his ability to define himself, on his intellectual and spiritual freedom, evoking in the protagonist a sense of nausea."Why Nausea? Why here? Because of this, from The Maltese Falcon, as published originally in Black Mask:
"The tappity-tap-tap and the thin bell and muffled whir of Effie Perine's typewriting came through the office door. Somewhere in a neighboring office a power-driven machine vibrated dully. On Spade's desk a limp cigarette smoldered in a brass tray filled with the remains of limp cigarettes. Ragged gray flakes of cigarette ash dotted the yellow top of the desk and the green blotter and the papers that were there. A buff-curtained window, eight or ten inches open, let in from the court a current of air faintly scented with ammonia. The ashes on the desk twitched and crawled in the current."And this, from Frederick Nebel's story "Doors in the Dark":
"He saw Halo Rand standing at the far side of the room. The room was dimly, discreetly lighted. A parchment shaded floor lamp stood back of the woman and built an amber glow about her amber hair."I'd bet my beret and pipe that Sartre knew his Hammett, if not his Nebel. What else has French culture borrowed from American?
© Peter Rozovsky 2010