Ross MacDonald: A Biography

Sold by Simon and Schuster
2
Free sample

When he died in 1983, Ross Macdonald was the best-known and most highly regarded crime-fiction writer in America. Long considered the rightful successor to the mantles of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald and his Lew Archer-novels were hailed by The New York Times as "the finest series of detective novels ever written by an American."
Now, in the first full-length biography of this extraordinary and influential writer, a much fuller picture emerges of a man to whom hiding things came as second nature. While it was no secret that Ross Macdonald was the pseudonym of Kenneth Millar -- a Santa Barbara man married to another good mystery writer, Margaret Millar -- his official biography was spare. Drawing on unrestricted access to the Kenneth and Margaret Millar Archives, on more than forty years of correspondence, and on hundreds of interviews with those who knew Millar well, author Tom Nolan has done a masterful job of filling in the blanks between the psychologically complex novels and the author's life -- both secret and overt.
Ross Macdonald came to crime-writing honestly. Born in northern California to Canadian parents, Kenneth Millar grew up in Ontario virtually fatherless, poor, and with a mother whose mental stability was very much in question. From the age of twelve, young Millar was fighting, stealing, and breaking social and moral laws; by his own admission, he barely escaped being a criminal. Years later, Millar would come to see himself in his tales' wrongdoers. "I don't have to be violent," he said, "My books are."
How this troubled young man came to be one of the most brilliant graduate students in the history of the University of Michigan and how this writer, who excelled in a genre all too often looked down upon by literary critics, came to have a lifelong friendship with Eudora Welty are all examined in the pages of Tom Nolan's meticulous biography. We come to a sympathetic understanding of the Millars' long, and sometimes rancorous, marriage and of their life in Santa Barbara, California, with their only daughter, Linda, whose legal and emotional traumas lie at the very heart of the story. But we also follow the trajectory of a literary career that began in the pages of Manhunt and ended with the great respect of such fellow writers as Marshall McLuhan, Hugh Kenner, Nelson Algren, and Reynolds Price, and the longtime distinguished publisher Alfred A. Knopf.
As Ross Macdonald: A Biography makes abundantly clear, Ross Macdonald's greatest character -- above and beyond his famous Lew Archer -- was none other than his creator, Kenneth Millar.
Read more

About the author

Tom Nolan never met Kenneth Millar, but Ross Macdonald has been on his mind since he was eleven years old growing up in southern California in the 1950s. Mr. Nolan reviews mystery fiction for "The Wall Street Journal" and has been a contributing editor for "California" and "Los Angeles" magazines. He has also written for "Rolling Stone, Playboy, TV Guide, " and the "Los Angeles Herald Examiner." He and his wife live in Los Angeles.
Read more
5.0
2 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
Read more
Published on
Jul 7, 2015
Read more
Pages
496
Read more
ISBN
9781501120442
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Biography & Autobiography / General
Biography & Autobiography / Literary
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
A talented writer could craft a short paragraph about his first novel in such a way as to demand further attention. I'm not that good. However, Crystal Beach Sunset is set in an interesting place and time and the interplay among the four principal characters will have universal appeal. What's not to like about a self-proclaimed devout atheist who does charitable work in several area churches? The day-to-day narrative begins when Jim and Rebecca Thornton, corporate banker and English teacher, opt for a two-week vacation on the shores of Lake Erie across from Buffalo. They expect some quiet time away from the heat of Manhattan and not the four-week, life-changing adventure that ensues. But then, they did not imagine that they would spend so much time with their landlord, a middle-aged, self employed, non-tax paying eccentric and his live-in twenty-eight year old girlfriend, a part time stripper and part time exercise rider at the local racetrack.
The story takes place in Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, NewYork, its crossborder neighbor, during the late summer of 1989. It ends on Labor Day that year, the last day of operation of Crystal Beach, a popular amusement park on the lake. The four principal characters occupy a lakefront property one bay over, the fifty year old Jack Mahoney and Linda McCollum in the main house and the young couple from New York City in the rental cottage. A cancellation provides an offer of a free extension of their stay if they "assist with some projects." The characters connect by gender and prim is influenced by the bawdier side of life and proper by the unconventional. The area backdrop provides a second sharp contrast, current and historical, between the Canadian and American sides of the Niagara River.

Photo: (c) 2008, Above All Aerial & Specialty
Photography-Ohio
www.aboveallohio.com

A talented writer could craft a short paragraph about his first novel in such a way as to demand further attention. I'm not that good. However, Crystal Beach Sunset is set in an interesting place and time and the interplay among the four principal characters will have universal appeal. What's not to like about a self-proclaimed devout atheist who does charitable work in several area churches? The day-to-day narrative begins when Jim and Rebecca Thornton, corporate banker and English teacher, opt for a two-week vacation on the shores of Lake Erie across from Buffalo. They expect some quiet time away from the heat of Manhattan and not the four-week, life-changing adventure that ensues. But then, they did not imagine that they would spend so much time with their landlord, a middle-aged, self employed, non-tax paying eccentric and his live-in twenty-eight year old girlfriend, a part time stripper and part time exercise rider at the local racetrack.
The story takes place in Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, NewYork, its crossborder neighbor, during the late summer of 1989. It ends on Labor Day that year, the last day of operation of Crystal Beach, a popular amusement park on the lake. The four principal characters occupy a lakefront property one bay over, the fifty year old Jack Mahoney and Linda McCollum in the main house and the young couple from New York City in the rental cottage. A cancellation provides an offer of a free extension of their stay if they "assist with some projects." The characters connect by gender and prim is influenced by the bawdier side of life and proper by the unconventional. The area backdrop provides a second sharp contrast, current and historical, between the Canadian and American sides of the Niagara River.

Photo: (c) 2008, Above All Aerial & Specialty
Photography-Ohio
www.aboveallohio.com

An intimate correspondence between the Pulitzer Prize–winning Southern writer and the famed crime novelist reveals “a remarkable relationship” (Sue Grafton).
 
In 1970, Ross Macdonald, the creator of hardboiled detective Lew Archer and an innovator in the crime genre, wrote a letter to Eudora Welty, the beloved first lady of Southern literature—initiating a thirteen-year correspondence and an unlikely friendship that grew into something much deeper. Though separated by background, geography, genre, and his marriage, the two authors shared their lives in witty, wry, tender, and at times profoundly romantic letters, each drawing on the other for inspiration, comfort, and strength.
 
They brought their literary talents to bear on a wide range of topics, discussing each others’ publications, the process of translating life into fiction, the nature of the writer’s block each encountered, books they were reading, and friends and colleagues they cherished. They also discussed the world around them: the Vietnam War; the Nixon, Carter, and Reagan presidencies; and the environmental threats facing the nation. The letters reveal the impact each had on the other’s work, and they show the personal support Welty provided when Alzheimer’s destroyed Macdonald’s ability to communicate and write.
 
The editors of this collection, who are the definitive biographers of these two literary figures, have provided extensive commentary and an insightful introduction. They also include Welty’s story fragment “Henry,” which addresses Macdonald’s disease. With its mixture of correspondence and narrative, Meanwhile There Are Letters—a finalist for the 2016 Edgar, Anthony, and Macavity Awards—offers “a glimpse into the inner lives of these tender, brilliant bookish souls” providing “a thrill beyond measure” (Ann Patchett).
A talented writer could craft a short paragraph about his first novel in such a way as to demand further attention. I'm not that good. However, Crystal Beach Sunset is set in an interesting place and time and the interplay among the four principal characters will have universal appeal. What's not to like about a self-proclaimed devout atheist who does charitable work in several area churches? The day-to-day narrative begins when Jim and Rebecca Thornton, corporate banker and English teacher, opt for a two-week vacation on the shores of Lake Erie across from Buffalo. They expect some quiet time away from the heat of Manhattan and not the four-week, life-changing adventure that ensues. But then, they did not imagine that they would spend so much time with their landlord, a middle-aged, self employed, non-tax paying eccentric and his live-in twenty-eight year old girlfriend, a part time stripper and part time exercise rider at the local racetrack.
The story takes place in Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, NewYork, its crossborder neighbor, during the late summer of 1989. It ends on Labor Day that year, the last day of operation of Crystal Beach, a popular amusement park on the lake. The four principal characters occupy a lakefront property one bay over, the fifty year old Jack Mahoney and Linda McCollum in the main house and the young couple from New York City in the rental cottage. A cancellation provides an offer of a free extension of their stay if they "assist with some projects." The characters connect by gender and prim is influenced by the bawdier side of life and proper by the unconventional. The area backdrop provides a second sharp contrast, current and historical, between the Canadian and American sides of the Niagara River.
Photo: (c) 2008, Above All Aerial & Specialty
Photography-Ohio
www.aboveallohio.com
©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.