Overheard

INTERVIEWER

You’ve called Dashiell Hammett
“tremendously great”
and Raymond Chandler
“egregiously overrated.”
Why?

 

JAMES ELLROY

Chandler wrote the kind of guy
that he wanted to be,
Hammett wrote the kind of guy
that he was afraid he was.

Chandler’s books are incoherent.
Hammett’s are coherent.
Chandler is all about the wisecracks,
the similes, the constant satire,
the construction of the knight.
Hammett writes about
the all-male world
of mendacity and greed.
Hammett was tremendously important to me.

 

The Art of Fiction
The Paris Review

 

 

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~ by eaesthete on 09/22/09.

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