book beginnings on Friday: The World of Raymond Chandler: In His Own Words, edited by Barry Day

Thanks to Rose City Reader for hosting this meme. To participate, share the first line or two of the book you are currently reading and, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line.

chandler

I love the Chandler quotation that opens the lovely introduction to this collection of his writings in little snippets. I had to share.

I’m just a fellow who jacked up a few pulp novelettes into book form… All I’m looking for is an excuse for certain experiments in dramatic dialogue. To justify them I have to have plot and situation; but fundamentally I care almost nothing about either. All I really care about is what Errol Flynn calls “the music,” the lines he has to speak.

I think that is a fine way to note what sets Chandler aside, which is in many ways the quintessential gruff wit of hard-boiled, pulpy dialog. (Or dialogue.) I love it.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

2 Responses

  1. Reminds me of the famous story about the movie The Big Sleep. Bogart came on the set one day and asked Hawks who had killed the chauffeur. They couldn’t figure it out, so they called Chandler, and he had no idea either.

    If you’re the sort of person who would see or read The Big Sleep and come out of it dissatisfied because there was never a satisfactory answer about who killed the chauffeur, then I feel sorry for you.

    Shakespeare’ plots are full of holes also. 🙂

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