RARA-AVIS: The Chandler followers and...

From: jacquesdebierue ( jacquesdebierue@yahoo.com)
Date: 08 Dec 2007

Since we are talking about Chandler anyway, it occurred to me that Chandler's work was too personal, too dependent on his enormous writing ability, to allow for successful imitation. Yes, Howard Browne succeeded in producing good pseudo-Chandler, and Ross Macdonald wrote a few of those in his early career, before starting a totally different gimmick, but overall the Chandler-Marlowe model is not really a model but a one-of-a-kind seedless flower.

These thoughts were prompted, in part, by trying to reread a Spenser novel by Robert B. Parker, an attempt that did not last because I was overcome with deja vu and a sense of rejection. They were also prompted in part by rereading a very fine style book by Jacques Barzun
(who turned 100 the other day) called _Simple and Direct_.

On the other hand, the Hammett model has inspired countless writers. It is still usable and, I suspect, will never be exhausted. His methods for handling character, timing, dialogue and situations are usable by anybody. If you use the Hammett model you are not a Hammett imitator but simply a hardboiled writer. And the influence goes well beyond the hardboiled genre...

If somebody today wants to write like Chandler, that writer can be sure that I won't read him (or her).



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