East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Raymond Chandler’s Birthday

“down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

Raymond Chandler

“He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him.

Bogie reading Chandler

“The story is this man’s adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.”
― Raymond Chandler

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The noir shadows of L.A.

51yDStJIzZL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_I was talking with a friend, yesterday, about Ray Chandler and Los Angeles – how the author was such a keen observer of his environment, that his voice has become the default voice of LA, and you can’t really set a story in Los Angeles1 without slipping somehow in a chandleresque mode.

The discussion reminded me of a fine book I have here on my shelf – bought more than ten years ago, and part of my collection of noir-related books.

It’s called Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles, and it was written by Elizabeth Ward and Alain Silver.
Silver has devoted most of his work as a critic to genre movies and noir in particular, and obviously the volume does have a noir feel to it. Continue reading


The many faces of Marlowe

long-goodbyeMy friend Giulia – she has just started her new blog, and you should check it out – suggested a fun idea, the other day: why not do a post about Philip Marlowe.
About Philip Marlowe at the movies.
About the actors that were Marlowe in the movies.
And I thought… why not?

Because you see, Philip Marlowe is a small wonder – a pulp character that made thegrade to serious literature without even trying.
Ray Chandler‘s work is there to defuse any argument about popular literature as inferior narrative, as a lesser art.
Marlowe – and Chandler – have become, without really trying, the champions of a whole body of literature. Continue reading