Richard Rayner biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Richard Rayner
Photo: Robert Yag

Richard Rayner

Richard Rayner Biography

Born in England, Richard Rayner now lives in Los Angeles. Rayner is the author of nine books. His first, Los Angeles Without A Map, was published in 1988. Part-fiction, part-travelogue, this was turned into a movie L.A. Without a Map. In 1996, Rayner published The Blue Suit, a memoir about his early life that won an Esquire Non-Fiction Award in the UK.

His work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and many other publications. He has worked as an editor at Time Out Magazine, in London, and later on the literary magazine Granta, then based in Cambridge.

Currently Rayner writes a monthly column entitled Paperback Writers for the Los Angeles Times. His work has been translated into many languages. He lives in Santa Monica.



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Interview

Richard Rayner discusses the symbolism of the skyscraper in Cloud Sketcher and what the skyscraper represents to the American psyche before and after Sept 11th.

This novel is a departure from your previous novel, Murder Book, although some elements of detective fiction are still present. Does it signal a permanent change of direction in your work?
Murder Book was Los Angeles cops and robbers, in other words a straightforward genre novel, although it arose out of real and true experiences I'd had with the LAPD while reporting for the New York Times magazine, so it didn't quite feel like that as I was writing it. It felt like fictional reportage on the city in which I live. Only later did I realize, hey, I've written a police procedural. But I've always loved what good genre writers give you: story, pace, movement, life, a sense of things happening on the page. Likewise, I find a lot of so-called literary novels dull fare indeed. The Cloud Sketcher is very different in that it's historical and has a big sweep-encompassing the Finnish Civil War, architecture and idealism, New York in the 1920s, the Jazz Age etc. The element of detective fiction is murder, a turning point in the story, although I don't think that violence belongs to, or should be left to, the crime genre alone. I suppose what I tried to do with The Cloud Sketcher, and will be hoping ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Richard Rayner at BookBrowse
The Associates jacket The Devil's Wind jacket Cloud Sketcher jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Richard Rayner but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • E.L. Doctorow

    E.L. Doctorow

    Named for Edgar Allan Poe, Edgar Lawrence Doctorow occupies a central position in the history of American literature. On a shortlist that might also include Philip Roth, Toni Morrison, John Updike, Saul Bellow, and Don ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Cloud Sketcher

    Try:
    City of God
    by E.L. Doctorow

  • James Ellroy

    James Ellroy

    James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. He is the author of the acclaimed L.A. Quartet - The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, LA Confidential and White Jazz, as well as the Underworld USA trilogy: American Tabloid, The ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Devil's Wind

    Try:
    The Cold Six Thousand
    by James Ellroy

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