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In his full maturity, Lew Archer has got to be as compassionate a private eye as ever existed, and the people he investigates have a psychological richness that draws you into their stories. Through Archer, you feel their pain. I had an aunt who said it was very effective.
The Moving Target
He showed his anger by speaking more precisely. It has a relentless quality and an overall sense of nastiness.
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In these books, the Archer voice changes into something unique, and for the remaining ten books, the full-fledged Macdonald conception of a private eye appears. Hammett, non-romantic to his core, had created the tough existentialist protagonist. Both write stories with sociological overtones, but the emphasis remains on catching the wrongdoer. Motivation is considered insofar as it will help in nailing the culprit. Empathy is not a quality that comes to mind when you think of the Op or Spade or even Marlowe.
But for Archer, product of a creator who went to therapy for his own issues a childhood shadowed by the early separation of his parents, an absent father, and a lot of moving around growing up , trying to get at the why of crime, the root causes, becomes the investigative touchstone. And what psychiatric school does he follow? Well, Macdonald is nothing if not a Freudian, and with Freud, for better or worse, the key to psychological problems usually lies in childhood.
The generations are at odds, the relationships between younger adults and their parents are strained, and the arrogance and hypocrisies of the parents cause no end of damage to their children. People try to cover up and repress past experience, but as every respectable Freudian knows, repression is merely the mother of neuroses. Archer does his probing through these inter-generational webs of conflict, and though he tends to sympathize with the young against the old, he casts few judgments.
Everything is connected with everything else. The problem is to find the connections. How Macdonald creates a fabric where the past is present and connections are pervasive is through his intricate plots, which are things of beauty. Here he puts his ideas in context, explaining how he differs from the giant looking over his shoulder — Chandler: I learned a great deal from Chandler—any writer can—but there had always been basic differences between us.
One was in our attitude to plot. Chandler described a good plot as one that made for good scenes, as if the parts were greater than the whole. I see plot as a vehicle of meaning. It should be as complex as contemporary life, but balanced enough to say true things about it.
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The surprise with which a detective novel concludes should set up tragic vibrations which run backward through the entire structure. You still admire the construction, the suspense, and the mastery of language. You still live with the anguished, striving characters.
Lew Archer Audiobooks - Listen to the Full Series | consmoslisi.tk
His characters kill for any number of reasons, but nobody is what you'd call an evil person. He would agree with what the crime writer Ruth Rendell said about criminal motivation, that "Crimes are more often committed out of fear than wickedness. People lead frightened, desperate lives. Pity for the criminals and pity for human beings in general.
What I saw as fresh and current in Macdonald when I first read him is as far back in history now as Hammett and Chandler were when I started reading them. Considering that, has Macdonald dated? But is his use of the parlance of his time any more dated than the 20's lingo Hammett falls into or the 40's slang Chandler employs? Macdonald fused plot, character, style, and psychology in the private eye novel like nobody had before him.
The Barbarous Coast (Lew Archer Novels (Audio) #6) (Compact Disc)
He used genre fiction to explore his deepest personal concerns and obsessions. Who among crime writers do you keep returning to? Labels: scott adlerberg. Newer Post Older Post Home. This use of Greek drama was deliberate, e. As suspense in a novel builds toward a climax, Archer often gets little or no sleep, racing the clock and prowling the suburban Southern California landscape day after night after day, trying to put the pieces of a puzzle together in order to prevent new violence.
This or hour wakefulness mimes the classic Greek tragic play where everything takes place in one day; here it might be more than a day, but since the character doesn't get to sleep, it essentially honors the tragic convention and contributes to the sense of unalterable impending doom.
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Tom Nolan in his Ross Macdonald, A Biography,  wrote of the author, "Gradually he swapped the hard-boiled trappings for more subjective themes: personal identity, the family secret, the family scapegoat, the childhood trauma; how men and women need and battle each other, how the buried past rises like a skeleton to confront the present. He brought the tragic drama of Sophocles and the psychology of Freud to detective stories, and his prose flashed with poetic imagery. The only recurring characters of note are Arnie and Phyllis Walters, who appear in several of the novels and seem to enjoy a warm friendship with Archer.
Arnie is a private detective in Reno, Nevada , about miles north of Los Angeles. Archer sometimes calls upon Artie for assistance with cases that lead to Nevada.
Archer's investigations sometimes lead from California to Nevada, due in part to Nevada then having some of the most liberal marriage and divorce laws in the nation, and also due to Nevada then being one of the only states with legalized casino gambling and the associated organized crime presence. The character has been adapted for visual media several times: Two feature films starring Paul Newman  as "Lew Harper ":. This movie series would start adapting with the eighth book in the series, The Galton Case.
It was cancelled after six episodes:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Oxford University Press. Retrieved February 8, On Crime Fiction. The Novels of Ross Macdonald. University of South Carolina Press. The works of Ross Macdonald. Categories : Fictional private investigators Characters in American novels of the 20th century. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history.