RARA-AVIS: Block, Crumley, Chandler and Cain

From: Dixon H. Chandler II ( dchandler@nettally.com)
Date: 19 Apr 2001

Block: Nobody has mentioned Deadly Honeymoon as one of the isolated Blocks. I like this one a lot, is it a retitled version of something else?

Crumley: I think The Last Good kiss is one of the great ones. His last two haven't really "mattered" to me like the earlier work. I've enjoyed them, but I won't revisit them again and again, like Kiss or Dancing Bear. Those are bleak books!

Somebody commented on Crumley and the PI tradition. I agree, his heroes don't seek out the case--they're not "heroes" at all, in any romanticized/Chandler sense of the term--but seem to become ensnarled in the problems. Thus they seem as heavily influenced by noir and its "finger of fate that steps out to trip you up" as by straightforward hardboiled
(although it's probably silly to try to make distinctions). Still that's what puts Crumley squarely in a more relevant category than Chandler for me. Chandler seems almost quaintly romantic, despite his being a great writer. Marlowe's knight/quest is noble, but Mike Hammer lives in a dirtier world, for example, and responds appropriately, shooting people in the guts and such.

As Sllichtman@aol.com quoted,

>At a book signing at Borders in Philadelphia a few years ago Ellroy said
>he thought Chandler stinks, and that James M. Cain is the real deal. He
>added, maybe less controversially (maybe not?), that Chandler wrote about
>world the way he wanted it to be, whereas Cain wrote about it the way it

This seems an appropriate distinction. I love Cain and Chandler equally, however.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 19 Apr 2001 EDT