Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Philip Marlowe was a Sage, a Poet, and a Trenchant Observer of American Life (Even though he was created by a frustrated Brit)

From Philip Marlowe’s Guide To Life, Edited by Martin Asher, from the writings of Raymond Chandler (Alfred A.Knopf, 2005, 78 pages, $14.95)

“About the only part of a California house you can’t put your foot through is the front door.” The Big Sleep

“It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole through a stained glass window.” Farewell My Lovely

“Alcohol is like love,” he said. “The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl’s clothing off.” The Long Goodbye

“There was a sad fellow over on a bar stool talking to the bartender, who was polishing a glass and listening with that plastic smile people wear when they are trying not to scream.” The Long Goodbye

“The fog had cleared outside and the stars were as bright as artificial stars of chromium on a sky of black velvet. I drove fast. I needed a drink badly and the bars were closed.” Farewell, My Lovely

“I drank two cups black. Then I tried a cigarette. It was all right. I still belonged to the human race.” The Long Goodbye

“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 husbands’ necks.” Trouble is My Business

“The minutes went by on tiptoe, with their fingers to their lips.” The Lady in the Lake

“She was wearing a white wool skirt, a burgundy silk blouse and a black velvet over-jacket with short sleeves. Her hair was a hot sunset. She wore a golden topaz bracelet and topaz earrings and a topaz dinner ring in the shape of a shield. Her fingernails matched her blouse exactly. She looked as if it would take a couple of weeks to get her dressed.” The Little Sister

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