Friday, February 09, 2007

Elmore Leonard and Raymond Chandler

Dedicated to mysteries and thrillers, the Noir in Festival, held in Courmayeur, Italy, ran from December 5th to December 11th. The festival gives an annual Raymond Chandler award for life time achievement and in 2006 the award went to Elmore Leonard.

You can see still photos of Leonard receiving the award and participating in a panel discussion here.

But why go with still photos when you can have video--and video featuring Leonard telling an anecdote about Chandler and the Hollywood agent he and Chandler shared at that!

Unfortunately, the video ends before we hear all of Leonard's comments about Chandler, which I would be very interested to hear.

My guess is Leonard does not hold Chandler in particularly high esteem. For one thing, Chandler routinely broke Leonard's rules for writing fiction, particularly the ones about avoiding detailed descriptions of characters and places.

Furthermore, one of Chandler's best short stories, Red Wind, begins with a great description of the weather.
There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband's necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.


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