Ah, the quote that gets trotted out by some enterprising reporter every time there’s a bad Santa Ana. Maybe at one time that was the effect they had. Now Santa Anas just create a region-wide bubble of anxiety over how much and where is going to burn this time.
Yes! That Santa Ana passage is burned into my brain. I’m an artist, so the other one that is burned into my brain is the one about the mismatched drapes and carpet. One made the other look dirty and the other made the other look washed out. I see that kind of thing everywhere.
I’m CURRENTLY reading The Getaway. Also, I’m not sure if it’s permitted, but Amazon has a bunch of Jim Thompson novels for $1.99 for Kindle. Grabbed some I haven’t read and a few that I’ve lost hard copies of over the years.
Charles Portis’s opening paragraphs can also grab you. This one (from The Song of the South) is my favorite:
My wife Nora had run off with Guy Dupree and I was waiting around for the credit card billings to come in so I could see where they had gone. I was biding my time. This was October. They had taken my car and my Texaco card and my American Express card. Dupree had also taken from the bedroom closet my good raincoat and a shotgun and some other articles. It was just like him to pick the .410 — a boy’s first gun. I suppose he thought it wouldn’t kick much, that it would at least kill or rip up the flesh in a satisfying way without a lot of noise or giving much of a jolt to his sloping monkey shoulder.
“a boy’s first gun” - that’s so good.
Obligatory mention of the opposite extreme – one of the runners-up from the 2005 Bulwer-Lytton contest (he of “It was a dark and stormy night.” infamy):
“Like an over-ripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor.”
My fave line from that novel:
“Jesus Christ,” he said, “no wonder you’re such a cynic, you’re a goddamned mystic in disguise.”
The opening paragraph of Red Wind immediately entered my head when I read the headline.
Though I don’t understand her
I love my sister, her name’s Miranda
The boys from uptown, they can’t stand her
The more she denies them, the more they demand her
But she just wanna lay in bed all night
Readin’ Raymond Chandler
Maybe our allergies? But yeah, no.
Or thinking of “Babylon Sisters” (which, for all I know, is a reference to it).
I remembered that it wasn’t, i.e. Gould’s Marlowe wasn’t anything like Bogart’s. (Buying cat food for a picky cat?) And figured maybe that was the point. But it’s been 10 or 15 years since I saw it, I might be completely misremembering, and now want to see it again. (ETA: which also means it’s not an evocation of Howard Hawk’s style, leaving aside whether it evokes Chandler’s)
Yep, I thought of “Babylon Sisters” too.
I’ve read the book and seen the movie of The Long Goodbye and I don’t think Gould was the Marlowe of the book. But admittedly I didn’t see/read them together, but rather years and years apart.
As a long-time LA resident I’d like to post a dissenting opinion. Sometimes there is a Santa Ana Effect. It’s partly physical. You feel it when you’re outside, a kind of tingly feeling which, I have read, comes from an electrostatic charge in the air created in some way I don’t understand. It’s partly emotional. You walk outside at night. No one else is on the street. The wind hits you in irregular gusts and howls like a sound effects record. Large shop windows whipsaw in and out (once I saw a bookstore window break that way). Signs and lampposts swing and sway while chunks of palm tree roll by like tumbleweeds. The third component of the Santa Ana Effect is habit. You’ve heard the opening to “Red Wind” so many times you when the wind rises you feel like Philip Marlowe and immediately attribute every unusual thing you see to the wind. It’s all very cool. Until the fires start.
You’re probably right; I’ve never read a Chandler novel so would’t know the difference. We just watched it a few weeks ago and enjoyed it though. There’s a part that takes place in a town in Mexico where the out-of-tune municipal band in the zócalo plays the movie’s theme song so badly that you don’t recognize it until halfway through.
It’s a Raymond Chandler Evening,
At the end of someone’s day,
And I’m standing in my pocket,
And I’m slowly turning grey.
I remember what I told you,
But I can’t remember why,
And the yellow leaves are falling
In a spiral from the sky.
There’s a body on the railings
That I can’t identify,
And I’d like to reassure you, but
I’m not that kind of guy.
It’s a Raymond Chandler Evening,
And the pavements are all wet,
And I’m lurking in the shadows
'Cause it hasn’t happened yet.
LOL this, this is wonderful.
“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.” - The High Window
“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.“ - Farewell, My Lovely
Chandler is the shit. Number one best American writer ever, you can keep your damn Hemmingway
Chandler was awesome. There was a lot of surprisingly good writing in the early-20th century detective genre, but Chandler’s pretty much the best writer of them.
One more from Farewell, My Lovely, pure poetry:
“Time passed again. I don’t know how long. I had no watch. They don’t make that kind of time in watches anyway.”
I love that line. He goes on to describe her mascara as looking like iron railings XD