The Underground Man: A Lew Archer Novel Paperback – Nov 26 1996
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"A more serious and complex writer than Chandler and Hammett ever were."- Eudora Welty
"Ross Macdonald is an important American novelist!"- San Francisco Chronicle
"I should like to venture that Ross Macdonald is a better novelist than either... Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler."- Anthony Boucher, The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Ross Macdonald's real name was Kenneth Millar. Born near San Francisco in 1915 and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Millar returned to the U.S. as a young man and published his first novel in 1944. He served as the President of the Mystery Writers of America and was awarded their Grand Master Award, as well as the Mystery Writers of Great Britain's Silver Dagger Award. He died in 1983.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The thing I liked about what MacDonald did is he took all the traditional Hammett/Chandler plot points and character traits (later to become tired cliches when grabbed on by dozens of lesser writers) and made them fresh and relevant. All the authors that came after him, from Parker's Spenser to Grafton's Kinsey Millhone (who sometimes resembles a female Lew Archer) owe their livelihoods to MacDonald.
The Underground Man is particularly interesting. In it, the author combined a natural disaster ( a devastating wildfire in the Southern California hills) with the turmoil that has enveloped the family whose members he is investigating. Like most of the later Archer stories, he serves not so much as the investigator of wrongs than an emissary to untangle the complex and poisonous relationships of the characters and try to avert impending tragedy. He is not so much interested in "who did it" as much as finding out what circumstances caused the situation he is now mixed up in.
Please disregard the previous negative reviews of this book. It doesn't sound to me like they even read the bookvery carefully. They totally misinterpreted the character. Lew Archer is not the stereotypical hardened tough guy of zillions of pulp paperbacks. He is actually a sensitive softie, perhaps too soft for his own good on occasion ("down these mean streets this weeping man must go" as one wag put it).Read more ›
I am amazed by reviewers that revile a book written over 20 years ago because it does not match the mores and attitudes of the 1990s.
One of the charms of this book is that it beautifully captures Southern California in the 60s. I was there, guys, and women did not act or dress the way they do now. Don't judge this book out of the context of its era. Instead of being irritated because the book does not portray today's world, enjoy the ride into the past!
As for Macdonald's writing, it was masterful! With a few well chosen phrases, he sets the stage and immerses you in his world. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and look forward to reading more.
Most recent customer reviews
THE UNDERGROUND MAN is my favorite Ross MacDonald novel. Lew Archer reaches his highest stage of development in this novel as he investigates a multigenerational mystery amid the... Read morePublished on Oct. 11 2001 by Mystery Cat
In the winter of 1972, the New York Review of Books featured this novel on its cover and proclaimed the it had won the editors over: From then on, detective mysteries would be... Read morePublished on Nov. 18 2000 by James K. Sterrett
This is my favorite Ross MacDonald book of all. Delighted it is being reprinted. Think I have an original copy. Read morePublished on Jan. 3 2000 by E. Evans
MacDonald is a master of the detective novel. His hard-boiled narrator Lew Archer talks the reader through a confusing tangle of relationships in a southern California setting. Read morePublished on July 15 1999
I'm a big fan of Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer novels, and this one's my favorite. Perhaps it's something about the way he perfectly captures Southern California during a brush-fire... Read morePublished on Jan. 7 1999