Re: RARA-AVIS: Gores's Spade and Archer

From: Patrick King (
Date: 19 Jun 2010

  • Next message: lindenmuthbrian: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Gores's Spade and Archer"

    From what I can tell, Ellroy is crazy as a coot. One of his objectives in life seems to be offending the people who buy his books. Watch any of his video interviews. That said, I don't think anybody who reads Ellroy's work doubts he has poetry, heart and personality. But Ellroy's Whitman to Chandler's Tennyson. Two weeks ago I re-read PLAYBACK and it held all the magic for me. In some respects I prefer it to THE HIGH WINDOW or THE LITTLE SISTER. Isn't it interesting how the female doppelganger is used in nearly all of his Marlow novels kicking off with THE BIG SLEEP? It would be hard for any writer to follow up THE LONG GOODBYE, but I think PLAYBACK is unjustly denigrated.  He had it right up to the end.

    Patrick King

    --- On Fri, 6/18/10, Patrick Kennedy <> wrote:

    From: Patrick Kennedy <> Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Gores's Spade and Archer To: Date: Friday, June 18, 2010, 7:11 PM



          Was anyone else here rendered less than gruntled by Ellroy's review of "Spade and Archer" during which he gratuitously seizes, or creates, an opportunity to take a sideswipe at Chandler?  Chandler, apparently, is a 'florid gasbag' who is 'easy to imitate'.  Oh really?  Then how come Robert B Parker failed so badly at it, and even Chandler himself couldn't quite manage it towards the very end of his career?

    There seems to be quite a bit of resentment around amongst certain crime writers towards Chandler: a begrudging of his place in crime writing history and the critical literary acclaim which came his way, and still does, while it frequently eludes - most unjustifiably, to my mind - most practitioners of the genre.

    I think what Chandler possessed more than any other quality in the best of his writing was poetry, heart and personality.  Maybe Ellroy doesn't think you need these qualities much if you're a crime writer, but I'm damned glad Chandler had them, and in such gifted and entertaining abundance.



    From: Harry Joseph Lerner <>

    To: "" <>

    Sent: Fri, 18 June, 2010 20:56:57

    Subject: RE: RARA-AVIS: Gores's Spade and Archer

    I just finished it too (and only a year and a half after first picking it up!)  I whole-heartedly agree that it was a terrific read!  I particularly liked the way Gores worked in the Flitcraft parable as a kind of jumping off point for the story. And, no I haven't given anything away by saying that! 




    From: [] On Behalf Of Stephen Burridge []

    Sent: June 18, 2010 1:35 PM


    Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Gores's Spade and Archer

    OK... I have been hesitating, I will go for it. Thanks.

    Stephen Burridge

    On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 1:31 PM, jacquesdebierue


    > I finally got around to reading this one... superb book. I didn't look, but

    > I am sure that some reviewers had reservations regarding this sort of

    > project, but Gores did a great job, the book stands on its own, and there is

    > no feeling of pastiche. Gores managed to convey the same extreme clarity

    > that Hammett's writing had --but then, Gores has that clarity in his "own"

    > work, so it's not surprising. If you were hesitating, go for it. This is a

    > very fine classic hardboiled novel.


    > Best,


    > mrt




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