Thursday, April 9, 2009

Aimless Reading: The C's, Part 19.1 (Raymond Chandler)

Chandler, Raymond
Later Novels & Other Writings

If you look right under the word "Letters" on the cover of this book, you can see the gluey remains of a price sticker, which likely means that I bought this volume at the Outlet Mall. I deduce from this that my first theory from the last post was correct -- I bought this volume at the Outlet Mall before I bought the first volume, then, my addiction to Chandler growing daily, I bought the other one online. I am not sure how this applies to my theory about Hammett. I have a while before we get to 'h' in order to figure it out.

This volume contains, The Long Goodbye, my favorite Chandler novel. I am not sure I can ever forgive Robert Altman for what he did to this book on film. Elliott Gould as Marlowe? Please. The only excuse he has is that it was the 1970s and everyone was really, really high. 

From that novel:

"I was in the commandos, bud. They don't take you if you're just a piece of fluff. I got badly hurt and it wasn't any fun with those Nazi doctors. It did something to me."

"I know all that, Terry. You're a very sweet guy in a lot of ways. I'm not judging you. I never did. It's just that you're not here anymore. You're long gone. You've got nice clothes and perfume and you're as elegant as a fifty-dollar whore."

"That's just an act," he said almost desperately.

"You get a kick out of it, don't you?"

His mouth dropped in a sour smile. He shrugged an expressive energetic Latin shrug.

"Of course. An act is all there is. There isn't anything else. In here--" he tapped his chest with the lighter--"there isn't anything. I've had it Marlowe. I had it long ago. Well--I guess that winds things up."

He stood up. I stood up. He put out a lean hand. I shook it,.

"So long Señor Maioranos. Nice to have known you--however briefly."


He turned and walked across the floor and out. I watched the door close. I listened to his steps going away down the imitation marble corridor. After a while they got faint, then they got silent. I kept listening anyway. What for? Did I want him to stop suddenly and turn and come back and talk me out of the way I felt? Well, he didn't. That was the last I saw of him.

I never saw any of them again--except the cops. No way has yet been invented to say goodbye to them.

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