“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blonde Ambition

I had a piece published in the Irish Independent last weekend on the new Benjamin Black Philip Marlowe novel, THE BLACK-EYED BLONDE (Mantle), which was very enjoyable to write, not least because the commission required me to write a goodly chunk about Raymond Chandler and Philip Marlowe before getting down to the nitty-gritty of the Benjamin Black novel. I liked the book a lot, by the way, even it’s not a purist’s dream of Chandleresque prose. That piece can be found here.
  Meanwhile, John Banville had a very good piece in The Guardian last weekend about his long-standing love affair with the novels of Raymond Chandler, which began at a young age. Here’s a sample:
“The most durable thing in writing is style,” Chandler wrote in a letter to a literary agent in 1945. In this assertion and others like it he was laying claim to his place on Parnassus, if on one of the lower slopes. Flaubert and Joyce complained frequently and loudly of having no choice but to scatter the gold coinage of their prose over the base metal of mere mortal doings, and Chandler too, in his less emphatic, more sardonic, way, sought to set himself among the gods of pure language, pure style.
  Like the bard of Bay City, the French and Irish masters of realist fiction frequently professed to care nothing for content and everything for form – and form, of course, was just another word for style. Writing to one of his numerous correspondents, Chandler insisted that “the only writers left who have anything to say are those who write about practically nothing and monkey around with odd ways of doing it”. Out of their grand indifference, however, Flaubert created Emma Bovary and Frédéric Moreau, and Joyce Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus; and Chandler, not to be outdone, gave us Marlowe, the private eye of private eyes, who is among the immortals. – John Banville
  For the rest, clickety-click here

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