Collected Stories Hardcover – Oct 15 2002
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From Library Journal
It was a big year for Chandler: not only did Knopf release his full canon in this hardcover trio, which includes some long-out-of-print stories, but Vintage also released a new set of paperbacks (LJ 7/02) of all his books. (LJ 9/15/02)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* "The front of her dress was a sudden welter of blood. Her eyes opened and shut, opened and stayed open." That sentence, from Raymond Chandler's 1935 story "Spanish Blood," says volumes about the history of mystery fiction. Death was mostly an offstage plot device in the works of Agatha Christie and other English authors during the so-called Golden Age of the detective story; American pulp writers made guns and blood their stock-in-trade, but most of them knew little about style, and their work didn't circulate much beyond bus stations and drugstores. Then Chandler, getting his start in those same pulps, began using phrases such as "sudden welter of blood," and it was only a matter of time before the literary world took notice. This landmark collection, gargantuan in both size and significance, brings together for the first time all of Chandler's short fiction, the raw material from which he later fashioned all his celebrated novels, from The Big Sleep through The Long Goodbye. Part of the fascination in reading these seminal tales is to encounter bits and pieces of the novels turning up in all sorts of places: the fabled opening scene of The Big Sleep, Marlowe with General Sternwood in the greenhouse, takes place in one story, while the later scene involving Sternwood's thumb-sucking daughter, Carmen, and her adventures with a pornographer becomes the centerpiece in an entirely different story. To read these 25 stories, 22 of which were originally published in the 1930s, consecutively is to watch Chandler's craft develop: the move from third to first person; the fascination with atmosphere and mood; the outrageous similes; the liberating focus on his detective's thoughts and feelings; and, of course, the relish with which he describes violence and death, utterly realistic yet flamboyantly stylized. And, yet, one can also see Chandler chomping at the bit of the short form, the plot demands of the mystery formula keeping him from his real interests: character and place. Only Chandler fanatics will want to read every word of this encyclopedic volume, but anyone with any interest in the history of hard-boiled fiction should sample its groundbreaking wares. A major publishing event. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
For those who already know Chandler, that will not come as any surprise. He took up the torch which Hammett lit, toward making detective fiction respectable literature. And no one outside of Hemingway has been more influential or distinctive, in any style, anywhere, ever. And no one has ever been more entertaining. Chandler wrote in an extremely visceral, visual, atmospheric way, and made the language sit up, salute and perform pirouettes. His cynical California Gothic prose defined postwar America and combined intelligentsia with slang and squalor with romanticism into a new form that has not been exceeded. I could ramble on indefinitely, but I hope this paragraph has been some small yet clear indication of the fact that I happen to like Raymond Chandler's writing.
The three previously unpublished stories were treats, to see Chandler working in ways I was unaccustomed to. One was even subtitled 'A Gothic Romance'; that made me a little nervous, but is only a romance in the sense that The Big Sleep is a romance.Read more ›
one of the most classic and historic possible in this whole
division of literature. And we can call it "literature" because
Although Hammett made an early contribution, he so quickly
burned out, devoured by alcoholism and his unfathomable romance
with Communism, that his effective writings ended rather quickly.
But Chandler worked his magic over many years, and although
his output was slim in volume, he continued to glow over a long
period of time.
And his start was here in these pulp contributions. His very
first writings seem a little stilted now, but they are still
Chandler, and we can see the beginnings of his great prose.
Shortly into his short-story writing, his style becomes pure
Chandler, and it is recognizable by any mystery reader.
Chandler always easily admitted that his great novels were
put together from some of these early stories, and, as such,
they shouldn't be missed by any mystery reader.
His use of metaphore is not to be missed, and the reader will
encounter those throughout his work; the use of language in
these stories is like the use of musical notes by a master
classical violinist--until you encounter them, you wouldn't have
believed such combinations possible. Most readers will find
pleasure in going back and re-reading favorite phrases; they
will have to be savored.
This collection is complete, and it's one that will give pleasure for a long time. Grab it now.
Most recent customer reviews
Have always been a big fan of detective stories. Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie stories, and Raymond Chandler writings.Published 13 days ago by Paul
As my title states this is a nust buy. Enjoy it slowly, one story ay a time. You will not be sorry. Consider purchasing the two collections of his novels also from Everyman's... Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2004 by J. E GILCHRIST