Raymond Chandler and some of his quotes.

Dust-wrapper design by C W Bacon for The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler (1949).

Members of the Creative Writing Group, Whittlesey Wordsmiths, know of my affection for the author Raymond Chandler. He wrote during the thirties, forties and fifties. Starting to write after losing his job in the thirties a result of the great depression. Chandler was a depressive, alcoholic and womaniser but I believe wrote some of the greatest one-liners and similes.

Chandler’s hero was a Private Eye, Philip Marlowe, (I can’t fault his choice of forename.) Marlowe is a complex character and Chandler’s novels explore this complexity and depth.

I wrote this piece a few months ago but I thought I would share it with you now.

I am reading Playback sporadically at the moment while trying to finish (with considerable help) beating my own first novel Killing Time in Cambridge, into shape. Playback was Chandler’s last novel and the only one so far not to have been made into a film. It was while reading it that I rediscovered the piece that inspired this article:

“On the dance floor, half a dozen couples were throwing themselves around with the reckless abandon of a night watchman with arthritis.”

For me, it paints a picture with an economy of words.

I have dug out a few more of Chandler’s gems to share with you to enjoy.

“She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.” ~ Raymond Chandler Farewell, My Lovely ch. 18 (1940)

“It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.” ~ Raymond Chandler Farewell, My Lovely ch. 13 (1940)  

“He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.” ~ Raymond Chandler 1940 Of Moose Malloy. Farewell, My Lovely, ch.1.

“Tall, aren’t you?” she said. “I didn’t mean to be.” Her eyes rounded. She was puzzled. She was thinking. I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her.” ~ Raymond Chandler The Big Sleep: A Novel”, p.5,

“She had eyes like strange sins.” ~ Raymond ChandlerThe High Window: A Novel”, p.161,

“Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl’s clothes off.” ~ Raymond Chandler The Long Goodbye ch. 4 (1953)  

“You’re broke, eh?” I’ve been shaking two nickels together for a month, trying to get them to mate.” ~ Raymond Chandler“The Big Sleep: A Novel”, p.90,

“From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.” ~ Raymond Chandler “The High Window”. Book by Raymond Chandler, 1942.

“Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.” ~ Raymond Chandler“The Big Sleep: A Novel”, p.42,

These books are of their time as were Conan Doyles Sherlock Holmes stories in a few sentences you are transported back to the time and place. Billy Wilder insisted on Chandler to write the screen play for Double Indemnity, he said, “No one writes dialogue better than Chandler.”

6 responses to this post.

  1. Some great quotes but I can see the pc crew having the vapours

    Reply

    • It’s always a busy time for the PC crew but these quotes were from a different time.

      Reply

      • I agree, a lot of the Edwardian musical shows had racist songs, I went to a read through by the George Edwardes musical appreciation society for “The Orchid” before the “show” there had been discussions about whether to censor the songs beforehand but decided that they should remain as they were of the time.

  2. My favourite quotes come from Terry Pratchett – too many to list.
    Although maybe… when I run out of blog ideas (which is every couple of weeks).

    Reply

  3. […] fellow Wordsmith recently shared some quotes from his favourite author, Raymond Chandler, which prompted me to post […]

    Reply

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