Monday, August 27, 2007

Vintage re-releases out of print Ross MacDonald books

Good news for Lew Archer fans -- About half-a-dozen old titles will be made available on Vintage's Black Lizard label, including "The Ivory Grin," "Black Money," "The Way Some People Die," "The Instant Enemy" and "The Blue Hammer."

Scott Timberg's article in the LA Times gives a nice overview of the author and his work:

Macdonald's following ranged well beyond noir's usual suspects: Eudora Welty gave 1971's "The Underground Man" a rave on the cover of the New York Times Book Review, then quite rare for a genre book. During his lifetime, he was friends with poet Henri Coulette and rocker Warren Zevon, and more recently authors Haruki Marukami, Jonathan Lethem and Chabon have hailed his influence.

"Ross Macdonald is the paradigm, to me, of a writer who never wrote outside the so-called 'confines' of his genre yet who expanded those boundaries so far in terms of language, characterization and literary patterning that it makes no sense to talk of confines at all," Chabon wrote in an e-mail. "He just wrote great novels about a private eye."

According to the article there's also a great anthology called "The Archer Files" by Tom Nolan, which features short unfinished sketches in which Archer appears. It might take a while for me to get around to that though -- I've had a copy of The Blue Hammer on my desk for five months, and I just bought a (used) copy of The Ivory Grin.

Here's hoping the new imprints keep the trashy vintage covers. Nope. I've just looked on Amazon and they've rather unfortunately classed them up too much for my liking:
Pity. I do so enjoy a horrible looking cover:

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