Reading the Western Landscape Book Group Oct/Nov 2010

The Reading the Western Landscape Book Group met last week to discuss The Lady in the Lake.  Below is a summary of the questions that were brought up for that book and a preview of the book that will be discussed on November 3.
Previous Book
October 2010 – Lady in the Lake
The Lady in the Lake, by Raymond Chandler (originally published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1943).  Find it at your local library.
Here is the original New York Times Book Review blurb about our October choice.
“October 31, 1943, by Isaac Anderson, Lady in the Lake By Raymond Chandler
Private Investigator Philip Marlowe is given the job of finding an errant wife who has been missing for more than a month. He finds a dead body and evidence of murder, but that does not end the matter for the body is identified as that of another woman. While digging deeper into the affair Marlowe encounters a very tough cop who resents interference in police matters and who is to learn that Marlow can be as hard-boiled as the next man when the occasion requires it. By the time two other people have been murdered Marlowe begins to understand what has been going on and is ready to point out the killer. A fat country Sheriff who is not such a fool as he looks gives help at a critical moment. This is a fine example of the type of fiction of which Raymond Chandler is a master. ”
Specific questions for this book include:

What did Raymond Chandler use his descriptions of plants for? 

Was there any part of the plot that didn't make sense for you? 

What insights into human character did the story illuminate? Or was it just a good puzzle? 

What were some ways Chandler tried to have you understand his characters? 

What is the particular strength of his language? 

Could you empathize with anyone? Did he want you to? 

What was Marlow's compulsion to keep telling his observations?  This question led us to thinking about juxtaposing all the times he told his story and how they compared. 

What else did he hide besides the scarf?

Next Book
November 2010 – Blacker Than a Thousand Midnights
Discussion on Wednesday, November 3, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Blacker Than a Thousand Midnights, by Susan Straight; New York: Hyperion ©1994.  Find it at your local library.
The life of a “straight and narrow” black man, a topic rarely treated in contemporary fiction. The protagonist is Darnell Tucker, a firefighter, and the setting is a racially mixed community in a volatile quarter of Los Angeles. By the author of I Been in Sorrow's Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots. From the WorldCat summary.
Susan Straight also has a new book that has just been published called Take One Candle Light a Room.

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