- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Cornell Woolrich: First You Dream, Then You Die Hardcover – 1 Sep 1988
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers also shopped for
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Woolrich's books take centre stage - all of their plots are described minutely.
As a person obsessed with silents and early talkies, I could read Woolrich's
love of movies into the plots of his first novels (1928-1931) - his heroes are
putty in the hands of women who only seem interested in wealth and having a
good time, once the money runs out they are gone and the hero does what it
takes to find more money, usually by unscrupulous means!!
It all seemed to stem from his first encounter with a girl - Vera Gaffney, an
encounter that could have been pulled from any of his books.
Nevins draws a parallel with the last of his early novels ("Manhattan Love Story"
(1932)) to his plunge into pulp fiction, two years later (there is a great book
called "Darkness at Dawn" with an introduction by Nevins that is a collection of
Cornell's first crime short stories ever published).
By all accounts a pretty unappealing chap, there is a scene in which one of his
fellow pulpsters describes a conversation on the phone to his mother which is
positively chilling (shades of Norman Bate's mother is not far off the mark)!!
It seems the only way people could get in contact with him was on the phone and
then they had to go through his mother!! There is also the story of the origin of
the William Irish pseudonym - which didn't happen in the early 1940s so Cornell's
name wouldn't become a glut on the market but seemed to originate back in the
late 1920s when Cornell was in Hollywood during the filming of his award winning
novel "Children of the Ritz" and a William Irish appeared as a credit on a
couple of Benjamin Christensen movies.
However, the information contained in the massive 613-page volume, including its long Checklist combining bibliography, filmography, and other information, is essential for any serious Woolrich reader (although it could probably stand a little updating now). The plot summaries certainly have their value when you want to know what a given story is about. I just wish the entire book had been arranged quite differently, as a sort of Woolrich handbook containing a tight 150-page biography, the Checklist as it stands, an alphabetically arranged section of the summaries, and maybe a separate critical essay (or several of those by diverse hands).