Raymond Chandler was among the most original and enduring crime novelists of the twentieth century. Yet much of his pre-writing life, including his unconventional marriage, has remained shrouded in mystery. In this compelling, wholly original book, Judith Freeman sets out to solve the puzzle of who Chandler was and how he became the writer who would create in Philip Marlowe an icon of American culture. Visiting Chandler's many homes and apartments, Freeman uncovers vestiges of the Los Angeles that was Chandler's terrain and inspiration for his imagination. She also uncovers the life of Cissy Pascal, the older, twice-divorced woman Chandler married in 1924. A revelation of a marriage that was a wellspring of need, illusion, and creativity, The Long Embrace provides us with a more complete picture of Raymond Chandler's life and art than any we have had before.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Long Embrace|
|Release Date: 11-11-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Long Embrace|
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The Long Embrace
In March of 1986 I began reading the collected letters of Raymond Chandler. I was at the time living in an apartment on Carondelet Street in an older part of Los Angeles where Chandler himself had once lived. My neighbors were mostly elderly people who had lived in my building for many years and with whom I had very little contact, except for one old woman who occupied the apartment above me. I had once kicked her little dog when it attempted to bite me as I came up the front steps, and for this she took to tormenting me whenever she could. She would rise early and shuffle past my bedroom window in her heavy leather slippers, speaking baby talk to her small dog or singing loudly, making as much noise as possible in order to interrupt my sleep. She broke flowers off their stems, left bits of paper scattered in my garden. Sometimes when my husband and I returned home, she would be waiting for us and lean out her window and call out in a high, shrill voice, “It’s the intelligentsia–the intelligentsia has returned!” She divided the word intelligentsia into separate syllables, flinging each one down at us as we hurried to open our door. Only in L .A., I thought, could someone make this word sound like a term of such utter derision.
I had read most of Chandler’s novels and early stories by the time I picked up the volume of his letters. In truth, I had become obsessed with Raymond Chandler. Chandler once said that great writing, whatever else it does, nags at the minds of subsequent writers who find it sometimes difficult to explain just why they are so haunted by a particular work or author. I could not deny that I had become haunted b