Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Who don't you like?

From: Terrill Lankford (
Date: 02 Jul 2006

-----Original Message-----
>From: Jeff Vorzimmer <>
>Sent: Jul 2, 2006 3:24 PM
>Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Who don't you like?
>> All of this sort of flies in the face of your statement that his work only
>got better over time.
>> I think he had peaks and valleys, like any other writer. "Big Sleep" was
>pretty good. "Farewell,
>> My Lovely" was good, too. "The High Window" was a valley (at least for
>me). "The Lady in the
>> Lake" was brilliant, likewise, "The Little Sister." I think "The Long
>Goodbye" is positively elegaic
>> at times, and "Playback" is another valley, signaling a decline brought on
>by stress, his wife's
>> death, alcoholism, and failing health.
>I think we maybe talking at cross-purposes here. What I'm talking about is
>simply the mechanics of writing, not storyline or plot--a cohesive plot. But
>I definitely agree with your peaks and valleys assessment. Perhaps my
>statement was too broad a brush.

I barely count PLAYBACK as a Chandler novel. It was originally a screenplay and it reads as if he merely fleshed out the script to satisfy a contract or pick up some cash. It seems clear that he was no longer firing on all cylinders when he wrote this book. His wife had died, he had attempted to commit suicide, and he appeared to be sliding deeper and deeper into bitterness and depression. I think he shot his wad with THE LONG GOODBYE (a true masterpiece of the form). He should have stopped there.

On the other hand, I think I am in the minority when I say I have a great fondness for THE HIGH WINDOW. I know it sometimes reads as self-parody, but there is something about that book that really appeals to me. I particularly love the Chess sequences.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 02 Jul 2006 EDT