'Austin Chronicle' Book Club
Readers toasted 'The Long Goodbye,' eager to move into 'The Hundred-Year House'
Reviewed by Robert Faires, Fri., Aug. 1, 2014
"I belonged in Idle Valley like a pearl onion on a banana split."
That was just one of several "Chandlerisms" shared by participants in the first-ever Austin Chronicle Book Club, held on Twitter Monday, July 28. In discussing the 1953 crime fiction classic The Long Goodbye, talk turned to the author's memorable way with metaphors and similes, and readers chimed in with their favorite turns of phrase. (That's Raymond Chandler, by the way, not Chandler Bing, though the Chronicle's Michael Bartnett couldn't resist linking to a BuzzFeed list of the latter, too.) "The girl gave him a look which ought to have stuck at least four inches out of his back" was one favored by Managing Editor Kimberley Jones, while Amy Gentry contributed: "A white knight for me is as rare as a fat postman." They were proof that, as Gentry put it, "Nobody tortures a metaphor like Chandler AND MAKES YOU LIKE IT." In the course of the hourlong chat, conversation covered the excessive drinking in the novel ("It made my liver hurt," tweeted Laura Watkins Baker), Chandler butting heads with Hitchcock on the script for Strangers on a Train, Altman's 1973 film of The Long Goodbye (Beaumont Paul: "I think of all the movie Marlowes, it's Gould ... that best captures the literary Marlowe"), and why Chandler is still worth reading ("Because he has style," noted Corrin Foster. "And his portrayal of 1950s Americana is the best there is.") You can follow the whole conversation online at Twitter, #ACreads.
At the end of the hour, the selection for August was announced: The Hundred-Year House, a new spooky comic novel by Rebecca Makkai, author of The Borrower. Grab a copy now, read it, and join us Monday, Aug. 25, 7pm, to talk about haunted houses, artists' colonies, and luck.