Re: RARA-AVIS: Ross Macdonald's influence

From: James R. Winter (
Date: 30 Nov 2004

--- In, Michael Robison
<miker_zspider@y...> wrote:

> The subject of writer skill in characterization has
> been brought up. In the two novels I read of
> Macdonald's, I saw nothing that exceeded the grace and
> style with which Chandler sketched General Sternwood
> at the beginning of THE BIG SLEEP. The talent that
> Chandler shows in that scene ranks right up there with
> the best of Hemingway. Chandler might have had some
> faults, both as a writer and a person, but when he was
> hot, he was steaming.

Not to disagree with that particular statement, because I see a lot of similarities in Chandler and Hemingway, but the irony of it gave me a smile. In FAREWELL, MY LOVELY, Marlowe gets annoyed with one character and keeps calling him Hemingway. When the guy demands to know why, Marlowe says something to the effect of "He's a guy who repeats everything until you think he's intelligent." An amusing dig at Hemingway, but I also noticed that both started writing a more spartan style (by the standards of the day) than was fashionable at about the same time.

Of course, next to Hemingway, most writers look like Anne Rice in terms of overwriting.

Jim Winter

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 30 Nov 2004 EST