The Raymond Chandler Papers: Selected Letters and Non-fiction 1909-1959

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9780140279740: The Raymond Chandler Papers: Selected Letters and Non-fiction 1909-1959

"I don't know why the hell I write so many letters", Raymond Chandler once wrote, in a letter. "I guess my mind is just too active for its own good!" It was also, as Tom Hiney points out in this new selection from Chandler's correspondence, a result of his peripatetic existence, his intense reclusivity, and his insomniac efforts to keep the night at bay. Writing and dictating long into the early hours, Chandler crafted his letters with a natural ease and an acute eye for people and places around him. His obervations on Hollywood and southern Californian life are perhaps unsurpassed by anyone, and his comments on the craft of writing and on fiction generally offer a fascinating insight into his own unique and innovative style. This anthology also features the best of Chandler's journalism and poetry, some of it never published before, including a lost interview, held in a Naples hotel in 1947, with the American gangster Lucky Luciano, and Chandler's classic and blistering account of attending the 1948 Oscar ceremonies. "The Chandler Papers" is both an ideal companion to Chandler's work and an intriguing account of the man himself. These are the definitive chronicles of a famous writer and a uniquely fascinating man: Hiney's biographical commentary through the course of the papers illuminates them against the times, places and twists of the strange life of Raymond Chandler.

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About the Author:

Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago in 1888 and educated at Dulwich College in England. He was described by Evelyn Waugh as 'the best writer in America'. Tom Hiney was born in Birmingham in 1970. His book, RAYMOND CHANDLER: A BIOGRAPHY, was published in 1997.

From Booklist:

Chandler, whom Time once dubbed the "poet laureate of the loner," was a recluse whose human dealings consisted primarily of long letters dictated, usually, while drunk. This is the third collection of Chandler letters (following Raymond Chandler Speaking in 1962 and The Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler in 1981) and represents never-before-published correspondence (including his first letter to the publisher of The Big Sleep, letters to friends, and letters to Erle Stanley Gardner) and unpublished early writings, which give us, among other treasures, an inquiry to an attorney about the habits of private eyes, a sketch of his meeting with Lucky Luciano, an eyewitness account of a 1940s Oscar ceremony, and numerous critiques of other mystery writers. Hiney, one of Chandler's biographers, and the late MacShane, who edited The Selected Letters, have organized their material into "Five Acts," centering on Chandler's struggles with and thoughts on the writing craft and the writing life, extending from 1909 to two weeks before his death, in 1959. Each section is preceded by helpful biographical notes. This collection includes one of Chandler's last letters, in which he wrote that he pictured Philip Marlowe "always in a lonely room, in lonely streets, puzzled but never quite defeated." The same picture emerges of Chandler in this masterfully edited collection. A must for serious readers of hard-boiled fiction. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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