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Raymond Chandler

Plexities of his thirty year marriage to Cissy a woman seventeen years his senior Raymond Chandler is personal portrait of an author as extraordinary as the fiction he created a body of work that has sold than five million copies been translated into twenty five languages and inspired countless imitators A discerning portrait of the creator of Philip Marlowe the archetypal American private eye Newswe Having read

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A New York Times Notable Book of the Year Raymond Chandler is an uncensored look at the tortured man who wrote the classic mystery novels The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye Using recently uncovered archival materials including personal papers and correspondence biographer Thomas Hiney vividly evokes Chandler's early years in Nebraska his education in England and on the corrupt streets of Los Angeles Decent but n

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And his later years as a novelist and screenwriter in the heyday of the Hollywood studio system Along the way he provides illuminating insights into the writer's inspirations and work as well as accounts of Chandler's battles with alcohol addiction and his friendships with Howard Hawks Lucky Luciano S J Perelman and Alfred Hitchcock This book is also the first to fully detail the significance and com Hiney's biog

10 thoughts on “Raymond Chandler

  1. says:

    Tom Hiney has thoroughly catalogued the somewhat bizarre and troubled life of Raymond Chandler who would become perhaps the most celebrated crime novelist of the Twentieth Century Chandler was born in the US in 1888 and educated in England Returning to the US he found his way to Los Angeles where he became an oil company executiveChandler's father abandoned his family when Raymond was a boy and Raymond was raised thereafter by his mother with the help of relatives At an early age he developed a serious problem with alcohol and throughout his life he also had some very odd relationships with women most especially his wife of thirty one years Cissy who was seventeen years his senior He was often ill at ease in the company of others and spent long periods of time in seclusion accompanied only by his beloved wife His best books were composed during these self imposed retreatsChandler was ultimately fired from his job with the oil company when his drinking became too much of a problem and he decided to become a full time writer He approached the problem systematically studying the process of writing He wrote several short stories principally for the pulp magazine Black Mask and then produced his first novel at the age of fifty He would ultimately produce several of the great crime novels of his or any other era including The Big Sleep Farewell My Lovely and The Long Goodbye He also became a very successful screenwriter and is doubtless best remembered for his work on Double Indemnity which remains probably the most classic of American noir filmsIt took some time for the books to find a wide audience and for Chandler to earn the plaudits he was certainly due and by the end of his life his behavior had become even erratic as his drinking problem became even pronounced He once told his doctor one would hope in jest that his daily consumption was moderate a bottle of Scotch several cocktails doubles of course and various wines with his meals In the end it would be his undoing and Chandler died in 1959 at the age of seventyHiney describes all of this thoroughly and competently; he also provides synopses of Chandler's novels but the book falls a bit short in Hiney's analysis of all of this There's very little explanation of why Chandler might have behaved as he did and very little actual analysis of his work Those looking for a thorough record of Chandler's life will be well served with this book; those expecting a bit will likely be somewhat disappointed

  2. says:

    Reading this biography I found myself coming to like Raymond Chandler than I thought I wouldThrough various articles I’d read I had come to the impression that Chandler the man was cantankerous rude and nothing like Philip Marlowe The very public recollections of Billy Wilder probably helped form that opinion as the two did really fall into a hatehate relationship with each other But the man I found in these pages seemed a kind and intelligent soul devoted to his wife who nonetheless struggled with terrible alcoholism An addiction he couldn’t uite bring himself to admit What’s there was a lot of Marlowe to him there was the nobility the jaundice eye and even the loneliness Chandler may have been a married man and not a perpetual bachelor but he was still someone who cut himself off from the outside world even as he craved itThis is a fine nuts and bolts biography which takes us through his life on both sides of the Atlantic and the creation of his books and his legacy It made me want to curl up and read The BIG SLEEP to THE LONG GOODBYE all over again No than that The write up that Hiney gives it actually makes me want to read PLAYBACK againThe wonderful Megan Abbott penned an article the other week about Chandler’s problems with women in his novels Reading with a Twenty First Century eye there may be issues relating to both gender and race but – even if that’s the case – I’d never be able to divorce myself from loving these books His writing is brutal poetry and is still wedded to my soul after three dozen rereads

  3. says:

    Decent but not great bio on the great mystery writer One strength of the book is its detailed chapters on Chandler's writing process his first attempts at writing stories for pulp magazines his early novels and his work in Hollywood Not as interesting were the chapters on Chandler's depressing alcohol drenched last decade of life which Hines inexplicably devotes seemingly 13 of his book to

  4. says:

    Hiney's biography leans heavily on Frank MacShane's 1976 biography a superior book in most respects The one advantage that Hiney has over MacShane is his mildly skeptical response to some of the episodes MacShane seems to have taken as literal truth Hiney is unconvinced and rightly so of Chandler's claims of sexual infidelity during his marriage and promiscuity afterward The problem is that Hiney still lends some credence to them perhaps they weren't all true but surely some must be simply because Chandler alluded to so many? when he shouldn't The problem with both Hiney and MacShane is that they rely too heavily on Chandler's letters and in Hiney's case this is almost entirely one sided at least in MacShane we occasionally get glimpses of the responses and his published work so that the picture of Chandler that is presented is the picture that Chandler would have presented had he been able in his autobiography As such these books suffer all of the consistency problems of the autobiography with none of the privileged materials at the autobiographer's disposal More a monument than a biography

  5. says:

    Here's a good solid biography of mystery writer Raymond Chandler After working my way through the books this was a good read to understand the man behind the mysteries There are some connections between Phillip Marlowe and Chandler a life long alcoholic What I didn't know were Chandler's early literary aspirations which got shelved for about two decades while he worked as an accountant for an oil company Starting in his 50th year he began writing the books after an apprenticeship in the pulpsIn the end Chandler is his own worst enemy

  6. says:

    Read this book starting with the last section as it describes Chandler's declining health and spiral into depression and alcohol Then I leap frogged about the book reading people or events mentioned in that section his relationship with the love of his life his wife Cissy working with Billy Wilder on Double Indemnity I delved into the section on his work of The Lady of the Lake a favorite film noir Very readable Hiney used Chandler's own words to describe events and people rather than using uotes to evidence Hiney's conclusions This techniue made the book read like a novel I particulary respected Hiney's section at the end proving Chandler was not a racist or misogynist Hiney's implication being that characters set in a certain time period will talk a certain way The character talks that way while the author may not believe the same Good book about a great writer

  7. says:

    Having read most of the Phillip Marlowe series I am a big fan This is a well resourced and written factual bio about a complex genius Born in 1888 Chandler went to school in England moved to the US and tried being a poet at which he was extremely mediocre He was gifted at math and became in 3 4 months an accountant This was in the depression and he became wealthy working for a large oil company rising to an executive position He fell in love with and married Cissy who was twenty years his senior He got bored with his job and in a few years of hard drinking missed work affairs at work he was fired He becomes enchanted with the hard boiled mystery genre which is new at the time He is writing his first novel at fifty years of age A lot of insight into Chandler's iconoclastic world view his love of the genre and for the evolution of common speech in American English

  8. says:

    some pretty avoidable errors in here that only someone who didn't go to the prom in high school would notice phillip marlowe is 33 not 30 at the start of the big sleep; danny glover starred in a showtime television adaptation of one of the marlowe stories not a radio adaptation minor stuff but damn dude it's not that hard

  9. says:

    I can't believe the author missed the fact that the writer for the screenplay of Robert Altman's film The Long Goodbye was Leigh Brackett the same who wrote The Big Sleep starring Bogart thirty years before

  10. says:

    The blurb says something like this biography is a good thriller Lamely put and I wouldn't uite say it's true but I did think it was as absorbing as Chandler's own stuff even maybe so

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