In Raymond Chandler’s hands, the pulp crime story became a haunting mystery of power and corruption, set against a modern cityscape both lyrical and violent. Now Chandler joins the authoritative Library of America series in a comprehensive two-volume set displaying all the facets of his brilliant talent.
In his first novel, The Big Sleep (1939), the classic private eye finds his full-fledged form as Philip Marlowe: at once tough, independent, brash, disillusioned, and sensitive—and man of weary honor threading his way (in Chandler’s phrase) “down these mean streets” among blackmailers, pornographers, and murderers for hire.
In Farewell, My Lovely (1940), Chandler’s personal favorite among his novels, Marlowe’s search for a missing woman leads him from shanties and honky-tonks to the highest reaches of power, encountering an array of richly drawn characters. The High Window (1942), about a rare coin that becomes a catalyst by which a hushed-up crime comes back to haunt a wealthy family, is partly a humorous burlesque of pulp fiction. All three novels show Chandler at a peak of verbal inventiveness and storytelling drive
Stories and Early Novels also includes every classic noir story from the 1930s that Chandler did not later incorporate into a novel—thirteen in all, among them such classics as “Red Wind,” “Finger Man,” The King in Yellow," and “Trouble Is My Business.” Drawn from the pages of Black Mask and Dime Detective, these stories show how Chandler adapted the violent conventions of the pulp magazine—with their brisk exposition and rapid-fire dialogue—to his own emerging vision of twentieth-century America.
LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
About the Author
Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) was one of the pioneers of hard-bolied detective fiction, a form he perfected in his celebrated Philip Marlowe novels, including The Big Sleep, The Lady in the Lake, and The Long Goodbye.
Frank MacShane (1927–1999) was author of The Life of Raymond Chandler and Raymond Chandler: A Bibliography and editor of The Letters of Raymond Chandler and The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler.
Date of Birth:July 23, 1888
Date of Death:March 26, 1959
Place of Birth:Chicago Illinois
Place of Death:La Jolla, California
Education:Educated in England, France, and Germany
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book does need a companion essay explaining the seminal importance of Chandler's work. But I would not take this book away because it lacks this. I would instead recommend a companion read such as The Perfect Murder: A Study In Detection written by David Lehman to really get an idea of the moral and historical importance of Detective Novels in general, and, specifically, Chandler.
All of these novels are absolutely essential to anyone's reading. I want say collection, because these are books to be read--over and over again--not collected. Chandler is one of the great American writers and a stylist as great as Steinbeck or Fitzgerald. If you're an aspiring writer, you may want to stay away, however, because you will despair at writing as many perfect sentences one after another as Chandler does.Of the individual books, the Big Sleep stands out, probably because i have seen the movie a few times. I rank it with The Long Goodbye as Chandler's best book, but all the books in this first volume deserve five stars.