Raymond Chandler : a biography

by Tom Hiney

Hardcover, 1997




New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.


Described by Evelyn Waugh in the late 1940s as "the greatest living American novelist," Raymond Chandler won the admiration of millions of fans, in addition to the more astute praise of writers such as T.S. Eliot and Edmund Wilson for his Philip Marlowe detective novels. He was central to the birth of what became known as film noir - for both the movies he wrote in Hollywood and those that were made from his books - and has been credited as the inspiration for the classic film, Chinatown. For this major new biography, Tom Hiney has had access to unseen personal papers, as well as previously unrecorded accounts of those who knew Chandler throughout his life. In the first biography in over twenty years, Hiney takes an uncensored look at Chandler's life as an author, a husband, a screenwriter, and occasional rogue.Vividly, Hiney evokes the strange early years before Chandler was a writer, brings alive the dangerous glamour of the Hollywood era in which he flourished, and puts his screenwriting in the context of the organized crime and corruption of Los Angeles during Prohibition. He gives illuminating details of Chandler's alcohol addiction - which plagued him off and on throughout his life - his friendships with Howard Hawks, "Lucky" Luciano, and Alfred Hitchcock, and fully records for the first time Chandler's most intimate friendship - with Cissy, his wife of thirty years, seventeen years his senior.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member encephalical
Contains relatively little about his writing process, focusing instead on what was going on in his life. By page count, most attention paid to his latter years when most of his output was behind him. How he managed to function at all in the latter stages of his alcoholism boggles the mind.

One of the most intriguing throwaways was that apparently Dr. Seuss was a drinking buddy.… (more)



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