Monday, June 18, 2007

The Big Sleep -- Raymond Chandler

I've been having a little trouble focusing these days. Can't concentrate, can't write, can't read. So I decided to go back to one of my early favorites, The Big Sleep. I've read it any number of times, but not for several years, and I'm glad to say that once again the voice caught me, carried me along, and helped me through a few hours.

The first time I read the book was well over 40 years ago. I was a young guy who didn't have a clue about p.i. fiction or writers, and then I picked up this book. It blew me away, as did Hammett and Ross Macdonald right around the same time. I knew then that I'd started a reading habit that would last a long time. Little did I realize how long.

Some people these days profess not to like Chandler, and it's true that many of his attitudes are dated. I don't blame him for that. He was a man of his time, and maybe he would have changed if he'd hung around. As for me, I liked Chandler then, and I like him now. The man could write. That's enough for me right now.


TM said...

Under much less important but nonetheless real stress, I find myself reading THE MOVING TARGET. Old literary friends are helpful, too...

Anonymous said...

Back in 1976, I almost fell out of my chair when in an episode of THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, Mary's boss, Lou Grant, reads from the opening of Raymond Chandler's "The Red Wind." That episode, "Mary the Writer," has always been memorable to me for that unexpected and astounding reading.

George Kelley