Re: RARA-AVIS: review of The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved by Judith Freeman

Date: 09 Nov 2007


Also in the SF CHRONICLE last Sunday, here is a snippet...

The Long Embrace Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved By Judith Freeman PANTHEON; 353 PAGES; $25.95 Raymond Chandler arrived in Los Angeles in 1912, a year before William Mulholland built the aqueduct that made possible the largest internal migration in the history of the United States. The city's population soared during the next decade, and Chandler witnessed Los Angeles' meteoric rise, chronicling the era's licentiousness and graft in his fiction. The ruthless thugs, crooked cops and narcotized sexpots of Chandler's work brought the seedier side of Los Angeles to a wide readership and created a popular vision of the city's sinister origins that would later be taken up by movies such as "Chinatown."

Blessed with perpetually warm weather and abundant real estate, Los Angeles at first seemed to offer a tranquil, uncomplicated life to the people who settled there, many of whom were fleeing the harsh winters of the Midwest. Chandler watched that optimism disintegrate over the years, as organized crime and government corruption took root. In his novels, short stories and screenplays, Chandler refracted the spotless white sunshine that attracted millions of the city's inhabitants into the noirish grays of a new American demonology.

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