A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman, di Alice Kessler-Harris (Bloomsbury). Perché Lillian Hellman desta ancora tanto interesse? "Ambitious, acerbic and direct to the point of rudeness, Hellman was a woman of voracious appetites, the kind of “tough broad” who “can take the tops off bottles with her teeth”, according to a 1941 New Yorker profile. She knew she wasn’t a beauty (her first boyfriend said she looked like “a prow head on a whaling ship”), but she bristled with a sexual charisma designed to distract husbands from their wives. Lonely and insecure about her desirability, she found affirmation in affairs and friendships with men.The most significant of these was with Dashiell Hammett, a famous and flamboyantly alcoholic writer of detective novels, with whom she enjoyed an unconventional romance for 30 years until he died in 1961. Hellman always credited him with teaching her how to write, showing her how to craft distinctive characters with just a few lines of raffish dialogue. In turn Hellman bailed Hammett out of the occasional fix, and tended to his reputation and estate for the rest of her life". economist.