Raymond Chandler vs. Grace Paley

paleychandlerThis year, I’ve been looking at ways to connect the two stories I draw each time I do the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge.  Sometimes its’ a lot of fun; sometimes it’s difficult work; and sometimes it’s been a stretch.  Quite a stretch, if I’m honest.

This time I drew “Come On,  Ye Sons of Art” by Grace Paley and “No Crime in the Mountains” by Raymond Chandler.

Truth is, neither stories is either author’s best work.

I’m not really sure what “Come On, Ye Sons of Art” is about.  Couple of people talking about stuff.  This has worked very well in other Paley stories, but this time it just fell flat as far as I’m concerned.

No Crime in the Mountains” features the usual Chandler detective character, not Phillip Marlowe this time around but someone just like him.  This time the detective drives up to a mountain resort town and ends up investigating the death of the man who hired him.  It’s a good story, better Chandler that “Come On, Ye Sons of Art” is Paley, but not the man’s best work.  Not by a long shot.

Still, I enjoyed Chandler more.  So while I cannot connect the two, frankly I’m not sure either is worth the effort, I have learned that mediocre pulp fiction is more entertaining than mediocre literary fiction.

For what it’s worth.

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10 Comments

  1. N@ncy says:

    I have started to read short stories this year. Working on ss of F.S. Fitzgerald but was stopped in my tracks by the worst story I have ever read “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”. But to be fair the story right before this one “Offshore Pirate” was wonderful! Read Chandler but not Paley. New discovery was Molly Antopol book of ss “The UnAmericans”. (bogpost dd 21 April 2014). I stll have to find a good way to review short stories….learning process.

    1. I listened to “Diamond as Big as the Ritz” on a podcast a few years ago and enjoyed it, myself. It may help if you know the kinds of stories he was spoofing so you can be more in on the joke. Do read some Paley stories; she’s wonderful most of the time.

      They can be a challenge to review. I try to keep it short unless I really have lots to say. Do several together helps a lot, too.

    2. Jay says:

      Just like this week for James with Paley & Chandler, even the best writers (e.g. Fitzgerald) can sometimes write stories that we don’t like. Some of my favorites of his are Babylon Revisited, the Curious Case of Benjamn Button, and Crazy Sunday – if you are trying to pick another FSF story to try next. 🙂

  2. Jay says:

    Maybe the “connection” this week is just that neither story is representative of the author’s best work. 🙂

    1. I was going to go there, but it seemed like a cop-out so I decided to skip it this time around. It may be a gimmick that has out-lived its usefulness. We’ll see what happens next time.

  3. Bellezza says:

    I have really enjoyed the things I’ve read by Chandler. My favorite mystery writer, Robert B. Parker, always referred to Raymond Chandler. Much like Haruki Murakami has referred to Raymond Carver. It’s nice to know that even the greats have someone they look up to.

    1. Chandler always entertains in my experience. Even when he’s not at his best, like in this one, he’s still an entertaining read.

  4. Paula Cappa says:

    I like Chandler mysteries a lot. Philip Marlowe is a favorite character of mine. In fact, Marlowe is having a revival. Benjamin Black (John Manville) just wrote “Black-Eyed Blonde” which features Philip Marlowe written in the style of Chandler. Great fun!

    1. I loved the first Benjamin Black novel but was not fond of the second one. Since then, I have not read him. I guess there are several more to choose from at this point. Maybe I’ll look into Black-Eyed Blonde.

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