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Aldous Huxley
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Raymond Chandler: A Biography - Tom Hiney This book starts off a little slow. The first chapter is a mini family history before his birth. Then there is a lot of detail about his alcoholic father abandoning the family. Chandler and Mother stay with family in the mid-west, then Ireland, then London. Chandler is educated at an English public school before joining the Civil Service. He then works on a newspaper for a few years. Finally he borrows money from his uncle to get back to the USA – his uncle charges him interest on this debt. After a stint in New York and then back with the family in the Mid West he winds up in California – San Francisco. He takes menial jobs whilst doing a bookkeeping course.After bringing his mother back to the USA he starts hanging out with a rich set (he’d met on the boat to America) and drinking. Then does a stint in the Canadian Army during WW! Before ending up in an Oil Company – owned by the father of the rich family he’d met on that boat trip. After another ten years or so of well paid work and a marriage to Cissy – about 20 years his senior – his drinking gets the better of him and he finds himself out of work. This also happens to be 1930 and the beginning of the depression. Everyone and their family were making their way to California to find work. Chandler went on the wagon and started writing pulp fiction. The rest is history.The book has some nice quotes from Chandlers work and letters. The demise after his wife’s death makes for painful reading. It reminded me of Satori in Paris or Big Sur by Jack Kerouac. You want to shake them and tell them to quit the booze. Of course a lot of people tried but addictions have a powerful grip.