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Raymond Chandler quotes (showing 31-60 of 291)

“A good story cannot be devised; it has to be distilled.”
Raymond Chandler
“In writing a novel, when in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns.”
Raymond Chandler
“Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.”
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep
“I like smooth shiny girls, hardboiled and loaded with sin.”
Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely
“I like bars just after they open for the evening. When the air inside is still cool and clean and everything is shiny and the barkeep is giving himself that last look in the mirror to see if his tie is straight and his hair is smooth. I like the neat bottles on the bar back and the lovely shining glasses and the anticipation. I like to watch the man mix the first one of the evening and put it down on a crisp mat and put the little folded napkin beside it. I like to taste it slowly. The first quiet drink of the evening in a quiet bar—that's wonderful.”
Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
“There are blondes and blondes and it is almost a joke word nowadays. All blondes have their points, except perhaps the metallic ones who are as blond as a Zulu under the bleach and as to disposition as soft as a sidewalk. There is the small cute blonde who cheeps and twitters, and the big statuesque blonde who straight- arms you with an ice- blue glare. There is the blonde who gives you the up- from- under look and smells lovely and shimmers and hangs on your arm and is always very tired when you take her home. She makes that helpless gesture and has that goddamned headache and you would like to slug her except that you are glad you found out about the headache before you invested too much time and money and hope in her. Because the headache will always be there, a weapon that never wears out and is as deadly as the bravo’s rapier or Lucrezia’s poison vial. There is the soft and willing and alcoholic blonde who doesn’t care what she wears as long as it is mink or where she goes as long as it is the Starlight Roof and there is plenty of dry champagne. There is the small perky blonde who is a little pal and wants to pay her own way and is full of sunshine and common sense and knows judo from the ground up and can toss a truck driver over her shoulder without missing more than one sentence out of the editorial in the Saturday Review. There is the pale, pale blonde with anemia of some non- fatal but incurable type. She is very languid and very shadowy and she speaks softly out of nowhere and you can’t lay a finger on her because in the first place you don’t want to and in the second place she is reading The Waste Land or Dante in the original, or Kafka or Kierkegaard or studying Provençal. She adores music and when the New York Philharmonic is playing Hindemith she can tell you which one of the six bass viols came in a quarter of a beat too late. I hear Toscanini can also. That makes two of them. And lastly there is the gorgeous show piece who will outlast three kingpin racketeers and then marry a couple of millionaires at a million a head and end up with a pale rose villa at Cap Antibes, an Alfa- Romeo town car complete with pilot and co- pilot, and a stable of shopworn aristocrats, all of whom she will treat with the affectionate absent- mindedness of an elderly duke saying goodnight to his butler.”
Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
“Technique alone is never enough. You have to have passion. Technique alone is just an embroidered potholder.”
Raymond Chandler
“Everything a writer learns about the art or craft of fiction takes just a little away from his need or desire to write at all. In the end he knows all of the tricks and has nothing to say.”
Raymond Chandler
“He was a guy who talked with commas, like a heavy novel. Over the phone anyway.”
Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
“The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.”
Raymond Chandler
“Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl's clothes off.”
Raymond Chandler
“I'm all done with hating you. It's all washed out of me. I hate people hard, but I don't hate them very long.”
Raymond Chandler, The Lady in the Lake
tags: dicks
“Under the thinning fog the surf curled and creamed, almost without sound, like a thought trying to form inself on the edge of consciousness.”
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep
“You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that, oil and water were the same as wind and air to you. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell. Me, I was part of the nastiness now. Far more a part of it than Rusty Regan was.”
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep
“There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart. The first of these is science, and the second is art. Neither is independent of the other or more important than the other. Without art science would be as useless as a pair of high forceps in the hands of a plumber. Without science art would become a crude mess of folklore and emotional quackery. The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous."

(Great Thought, February 19, 1938)”
Raymond Chandler, The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler; and English Summer: A Gothic Romance
“He snorted and hit me in the solar plexus. I bent over and took hold of the room with both hands and spun it. When I had it nicely spinning I gave it a full swing and hit myself on the back of the head with the floor.”
Raymond Chandler, Pearls are a Nuisance
tags: dicks
“It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark little clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.”
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep
“I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners. They’re pretty bad. I grieve over them during the long winter evenings.”
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep
“A writer who is afraid to overreach himself is as useless as a general who is afraid to be wrong.”
Raymond Chandler, Pearls are a Nuisance
“Mostly I just kill time," he said, "and it dies hard.”
Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
“Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency.”
Raymond Chandler
“I'm in a wild mood tonight. I want to go dance in the foam. I hear the banshees calling.”
Raymond Chandler
“What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on the top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that. Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell.”
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep
“I hung up. It was a good start, but it didn’t go far enough. I ought to have locked the door and hidden under the desk.”
Raymond Chandler, The Little Sister
“You can have a hangover from other things than alcohol. I had one from women.”
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep
“The most durable thing in writing is style, and style is the single most valuable investment a writer can make with his time.”
Raymond Chandler
“Don't ever write anything you don't like yourself and if you do like it, don't take anyone's advice about changing it. They just don't know.”
Raymond Chandler
“The wet air was as cold as the ashes of love.”
Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely
“Police business is a hell of a problem. It’s a good deal like politics. It asks for the highest type of men, and there’s nothing in it to attract the highest type of men. So we have to work with what we get...”
Raymond Chandler, The Lady in the Lake
“He sounded like a man who had slept well and didn't owe too much money.”
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep


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