Friday, June 26, 2015

Off Topic-- Raymond Chandler: His World In His Own Words

The World of Raymond Chandler In His Own Words, Barry Day, ed., 239 images, chronology, 250 pp., 2014, $27.95.

The World of Raymond Chandler In His Own Word offers a fine introduction to Chandler's life and work and supplies a refreshing reminder to those who are quite familiar with his novels and short stories. It is well illustrated with historic photographs of Chandler's life, his book covers and Los Angles during the era in which the novels and short stories are set. The chronology is a very helpful guide to Chandler's childhood, World War One experiences, his business career, and his work writing short stories, novels, and screen plays.

Chandler along with Hamett, Cain and McDonald had an immense impact on American popular literature and cinema. He was twice nominated for Academy Awards for his screenplays and several films of his novels helped to make the careers of Humphrey Bogart, Dick Powell, Fred McMurray, Lauren Bacall and Barbara Stanwyck.  Chandler wrote for both Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock. Additionally, Chandler wrote extensively on the craft of writing as it relates to the genres of  hard boiled and noir detective fiction.

Notable chapters in The World of Raymond Chandler In His Own Words include those on his birth, childhood and growing up in Chicago, Nebraska and the England, the development of his writing style for the pulp literature market, the urban history of Los Angles, and his literary and film industry criticism. Barry Day relies almost exclusively on Chandler's novels, short stories and personal letters; most of the book is Chandlers words organized by Day whose transitions within chapters are clear and concise.

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