April 21st, 2018

Past and passed, as time passes (more Raymond Chandler)

Later in "Spanish Blood," the story I quoted from in my last post, the detective returns to the house described in the passage I'd embedded. I actually jotted down these sentences for the words "past" and "passed," two words that I often screw up, putting one where I need the other (Chandler uses "past," correctly, but I don't know if I'd get it right if I were trying to write a similar sentence), but in any event, once again there's the immediate experience of time as it's being lived:

He looked at her white shattered face once more, very quickly. Then he swung around, walked away over the lawn, past the pool with the lily pads and the stone bullfrog along the side of the house and out to the car.

Chandler had already described the pool and lily pads and bullfrog on the detective's way to the backyard. Now, as the detective leaves, Chandler mentions them again to suggest the time taken by the return walk, and the pace (if the detective were in a hurry you wouldn't have those details). Also, this gives the reader time for the emotions of the just-ended conversation to hang in the brain and then begin to settle, before the detective gets around to the front of the house and into his partner's car, and the two start talking.

I've been reading Chandler stories chronologically from his start at Black Mask, seeing how he develops; this one is the earliest where he's now full-force Chandler from beginning to end; still more bullets than necessary, and a family of victims is dispatched perfunctorily, but the psychology and mood are there as they will be for the next fifteen years.

This entry was originally posted at https://koganbot.dreamwidth.org/369524.html. Comments still welcome here, there, and anywhere.