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Black Wings Has My Angel (New York Review Books Classics)


Black Wings Has My Angel (New York Review Books Classics)

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    Available in PDF Format | Black Wings Has My Angel (New York Review Books Classics).pdf | English
    Elliott Chaze(Author)

During the 1950s, Gold Medal Books introduced authors like Jim Thompson, Chester Himes, and David Goodis to a mass readership eager for stories of lowlife and sordid crime. Today many of these writers are admired members of the literary canon, but one of the finest of them of all, Elliott Chaze, remains unjustly obscure. Now, for the first time in half a century, Chaze's story of doomed love on the run returns to print in a trade paperback edition.

When Tim Sunblade escapes from prison, his sole possession is an infallible plan for the ultimate heist. Trouble is it's a two-person job. So when he meets Virginia, a curiously well-spoken "ten-dollar tramp," and discovers that the only thing she cares for is "drifts of money, lumps of it," he knows he's met his partner. What he doesn't suspect is that this lavender-eyed angel might just prove to be his match.

Black Wings Has My Angel careens through a landscape of desperate passion and wild reversals. It is a journey you will never forget.

3.4 (3932)
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Book details

  • PDF | 224 pages
  • Elliott Chaze(Author)
  • New York Review of Books; Reprint edition (19 Jan. 2016)
  • English
  • 8
  • Crime, Thrillers & Mystery
Read online or download a free book: Black Wings Has My Angel (New York Review Books Classics)

Review Text

  • By Chris Elliott on 3 May 2016

    Well if you like Noir literature you will love this, it's the darkest of Noir. Published during the golden age of Noir in the 1950's this is recognised as one of the best. This is noir in its purest form, a cropped down, hard boiled mystery.Timothy Sunblade is an escaped convict, a car thief and a war veteran and has a permanent head injury which makes him somewhat unstable. After meeting Virginia a 'ten dollar tramp' and femme fatale the two lovers travel west in a convertible plotting an armoured car heist (so long as Timothy doesn't dump her at the side of the road first...) and the story goes from there.Chaze is a master writer and his prose is chillingly intoxicating and he is a master of the genre's seedy coolness. The relationship between the lead characters feels real and meaningful and the dialogue crackles, threatening to combust. If you don't like this you don't like Noir. Enjoy all!

  • By William Donelson on 3 May 2017

    <b>You don't read this story, you live it.</b>It is masterpiece of noir, a work of art, literature not pulp, a modern greek tragedy, a tale of life and love and hunger and fear which comes from the deepest heart of the author, Elliott Chaze.No other work by Chaze comes close to this.Indeed, no other noir comes close to this master work.We are Tim, first-person, living his life after an escape from prison, working an oil field, filthy and exhausted and then to the tiny town of Krotz Springs to recover. Soaking in a tub, the rain lashing the little hotel, scrubbing the dirt from my body and my soul. Awaiting carnal pleasures after so long.The whore appears, surprisingly exquisite, beautiful in every way, in her stance and movements, her eyes and form, but she is dark inside, unmoved, ready for work, ready for me. We drink and begin and drink again.Quote:<i>The rain beat against the windows and against the tin roof of the hotel. It came down in hissing roars, then in whispers, then in loud shishes like sandpaper rubbed against wood. She drank the second glassful, climbed off the bed and began undressing, and then we were together, the cheap naked bulb still blazing down on the bed.Thinking back, I remember the stupidest things; the way there was a taut crease just above her hips, in the small of her back. The way she smelled like a baby's breath, a sweet barely there smell that retreated and retreated, so that no matter how close you got to it you weren't sure it was there. The brown speckles in the lavender-gray eyes, floating very close to the surface when I kissed her, the eyes wide open and aware. But not caring. The eyes of a gourmet offered a stale chunk of bread, using it of necessity but not tasting it any more than necessary.I remember getting up and coming back to her, and of throwing a shoe at the light bulb, later, when the whisky was gone. I remember the smell of rain-darkness in the room and her telling me I'd cut my feet on the light-bulb glass on the floor. And how she said I was no better than a tramp myself, that I made love to the cadence of the raingusts on the roof, and it was true I was doing just that, but it seemed the natural thing then. And I felt so marvelously clean and soaped and so in tune with the whole damned universe that I had the feeling I could have clouded up and rained and lightninged myself, and blown that cheese-colored room to smithereens.</i>This angel has dark wings though, like mine. Buried in her flesh, owning her, owning me. My black wings own me, as her black wings own her. We leave together, afraid of what lies ahead, afraid of each other, but unable to part, our wings binding us to each other.We travel across the country, small towns, becoming closer and resisting. Tiny golden threads between our hearts are drawing us together, while our black wings plot betrayal, greed, and fear.....I live this life. I am Tim. I love her, I hate my greed, I need her, and I think too much about it. It eats inside of me, as she becomes more bound to me, and I to her.And as we travel, and plan the horror to come, she becomes my Angel. I refute it, I deny it, but it's true. A part of me dumps her again and again in my mind, the greedy part of me, the black wings of me. I ache for her, I need her, she completes me and I complete her. And my black wings beat against hers as I struggle with the golden threads of love and life, but the greed drives me, makes me feel alive, energises me and her, compels us both.I continue my plan, with her. She is part of the plan now, part of me, our wings beat in terrible synchrony.And we carry our own destruction inside us.-------I will read this book again and again, live this book again, love her again, fear our plan, hate our success, love our escapes, and I will be forever startled by her rescue of me, again and again. If only I had believed in her more, we could have let go of the wings.The treasure is in love, not wings. We learn this too late.My Angel now will always have black wings, and so will I. We will never know where she got hers or why, and my story in this book gives a glimpse of where I got mine. Terrible power, hunger, Black Wings, owning us.<b>Black Wings Have My Angel, and me, forever.</b>Just a few more quotes I love:<i>If your life can hang from a chewing gum wrapper it can hang from anything in the book. It can hang from a bullet no bigger than a bean, or from a cigarette smoked in bed, or a bad breakfast that causes the doctor to sew the absorbent cotton inside you. From a slick tire tread or the hiccups or from kissing the wrong woman. Life is a rental proposition with no lease. For everybody, tall and short, muscles and fat, white and yellow, rich and poor. I know that now. And it is good to know at a time like this.----------------He said solitary itself was nothing but a room and a cot and you; and the room was a blank to begin with and a blank was comfortable as being asleep or dead. But that if you began filling the room with crazy thoughts you came out of it crazy. Jeepie said perhaps my biggest trouble was I could never forget I'd been to school: "They've taught you that to think is to be smart but my friend there's times when it's smart to be stupid."But no one's immune to thinking. Try drawing a blank for any length of time, emptying your head of everything and still you land on a color, a shape, a personality, a grievance. I can sit here on this cot in my cell and stare at the plaster wall, go absolutely limp in my head, and the story, the story of Virginia and me is there in the plaster. At night in the dark it unreels very clearly even as I try to suck the darkness into my head hoping to blot the other out of there.Writing it down brings me no relief from thinking, but it does somehow take the curse off the blackest parts of it so that later when they flash on the screen inside me they do not burn me so, and I can say: I admitted I did it. I confessed it on a piece of paper. I never told any of it in the courtroom. I didn't tell it before that when they strapped me Over the car and used the burning cigars on me. I didn't say anything. But I've put it all on the paper and the paper under my mattress and while it doesn't get it out of me, it dilutes it.----------------Now that I was rich I worried a lot more than I had [ before ] .... Or let's say I didn't worry more, but that I worried harder, because all my life I'd wanted to live lazily and glossily, and now I had it and didn't want it taken away from me. Before I became rich it was only a matter of hanging onto life, a good, rugged, animalistic, instinctive thing that kept me hard and on my toes. This was different, this petulant, craven business of sweating over my wealth, and over what it was doing ...</i>

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