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The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler Paperback – February 20, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

During a period of twenty years that stretched from his beginnings as a pulp writer for The Black Mask, through his writing of the novels The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely, to the Hollywood years of the 1940s, Raymond Chandler kept a series of private notebooks. Filled with both public and private writings, these pages give us an intimate view of the writer at work and contain early ideas, descriptions, and anecdotes later used in such classics as The Long Goodbye and The Blue Dahlia. Read Chandler on such classic "Marlowesque" topics as pickpocket lingo, San Quentin jailhouse slang, a "Note on the Tommygun," and "Craps," as well as surprising, lesser–known essays on Hollywood, the mystery story, British and American writing, and a wicked parody of Hemingway. Also included are lists of possible story titles, "Chandlerisms," and his short story "English Summer: A Gothic Romance," which Chandler considered a turning point in his career.

At times whimsical, provocative, and irreverent, but always revealing, The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler is a fascinating sampler for his new readers and an irresistible treat for his dedicated fans.

About the Author

Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) was best known as the creator of fictional detective Philip Marlowe. One of the most influential American authors of crime novels and stories, his books were considered classics of the genre, and many of them were turned into enormously popular Hollywood films, including The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (February 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061227447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061227448
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,043,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on February 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Poor Frank MacShane, the biographer and editor who died in 1999 after a lengthy bout with Alzsheimers Disease. He did so much for Chandler's reputation, and really worked hard on his behalf, and now, in Harper Perennial's disastrous reprinting of MacShane's edition of Chandler's notebooks, he has been very nearly erased out of existence. He's not on the spine of the book. He's not on the front cover; not even on the back cover. They have his name on the title page, but it comes after Edward Gorey's, and he gets a tiny credit on the copyright entry. It's as if Harper Perennial wants us to believe these notebooks just got up off the shelf, edited themselves, and slipped into the display window a quality paperback pretends to be.

Then Harper Perennial prints the whole volume on--is it recycled paper? There's no other excuse, it's like your very worst nightmare of ugly, yellowed, tarnished cheap newsprint. What a disaster, especially when they're printing a selection of photographs which are now nearly totally unviewable, while Gorey's illustrations to ENGLISH SUMMER seem to dissolve into the rag fiber as you're examining them. This is the kind of visual presentation you'd expect to see a publisher give a book by Pauly Shore, but it's Raymond Chandler for goodness sake!

Okay, so he's not at his best here and his notebooks are far less interesting than one would think, but he deserves better treatment than what he's getting here, and as for MacShane it's a travesty of his work.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Shephard on February 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
To me the notebooks of Henry James defines what I expect from a writer's journal, diary, or notebook. A intimate record of the creative process. Little of this is included in the Raymond Chandler notebook. Much of is reprints of other writer's views. Mr. Chandler's essay on the characteristics of a mystery although interesting is itself a reprint. There is some original content which indicates somewhat the artistic labor involved in his work but I find the amount a nibble instead of a feast.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Middleton on November 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
Raymond Chandler's character, the witty, tough and romantic "private detective", Philip Marlowe, next to Dashiell Hammett's, Sam Spade, is more than likely, the most famous "gum shoe" investigator of the twentieth century, only rivalling, the nineteenth century private detective, Sherlock Holmes.

Chandler is known for his sharp prose and witty dialogue leading to a somewhat successful career as a screenwriter in Hollywood. He co-wrote with director Billy Wilder the award winning "Double Indemnity", adapted from the novel by James M. Cain. He also worked with Alfred Hitchcock on the screenplay adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel, "Stranger on a Train". I've read just about all of Chandler's work, thus coming across this little gem was a real pleasure.

Even if you haven't heard of Chandler or read any of his work, the Notebook, just standing alone, is a lesson for any budding "mystery writer." Contained in these pages is a quick procedure on the points to writing a full-length novel. The Notebook also includes facsimiles of Chandler's Ideas about short stories and potential plots for novels, screenplays or novellas.

The Notebook also has historical tid bits such as a list of similes and slang used in the 30's and 40's, which the author used in his work. This is an excellent resource for any budding mystery writer or writer overall.

This book is highly recommended.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Cohn on April 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very amazing book. Especially seeing things written in his own hand writing. Very great book. Thank you.
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