Like P. G. Wodehouse (with whom he almost overlapped at Dulwich), Chandler is famous for his similes, such as “We looked at each other with the clear innocent eyes of a couple of used car salesmen”, or “as debonair as a French count in a college play”. Though Marlowe is characterized by his wisecracks and verbal sparring, he can also be more subtle in his humour: “I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her”. Not least, Chandler is a master of the capsule description, many of his subsidiary characters recalling those bleak figures in Edward Hopper paintings: “The clerk on duty was an eggheaded man with no interest in me or anything else. He wore parts of a white linen suit and he yawned as he handed me the desk pen and looked off into the distance as if remembering his childhood”. As Chandler once wrote in a letter, “It doesn’t matter a damn what a novel is about. The only fiction of any moment in any age is that which does magic with words”.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
… Raymond Chandler, gritty enchanter | TLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)