- The best novels: No 62 – The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler () | Books | The Guardian
- Raymond Chandler
- How to Vote
- Get 10% off your first Library of America purchase.
Every stereotype, every cliched phrase, it's all there and it is glorious.
The best novels: No 62 – The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler () | Books | The Guardian
If you are looking for dames and gumshoes and sawbucks and swapping lead then look no further. Almost every page had a quotable line that had me smirking. If you do not remember this, you may be upset or offended by the content. These characters are uncouth and indelicate. Several times during the boo Reflections on The Big Sleep - Classic hard-boiled detective fiction at it's finest. Several times during the book I said to myself "Dang, he can't say that! But, he did. I am not going to lie - several times during the book I was not quite sure what was going on or where things were going.
I am not even sure I fully understand the resolution. I reflect on this as a genre period peice and I enjoyed it for that, not necessarily a mind-blowing plot. Really, only if you want to add some classic hard-boiled to your collection. If you only think you should read it because it is considered a must-read classic, I am not sure you will enjoy it all that much. View all 14 comments.
Oct 17, Evgeny rated it it was amazing Shelves: crime-and-mystery , favorites. Review updated on February 26, A group read with the following people: Erin , Dan 2. Please let me know if I missed somebody. A crippled millionaire with rapidly failing health hires Philip Marlowe to investigate seemingly simple blackmail case involving one of his daughters. For this money he got shot at several times, was knocked out by a blow in his head, met quite a few dead people and helped some of them meet their early Review updated on February 26, A group read with the following people: Erin , Dan 2.
For this money he got shot at several times, was knocked out by a blow in his head, met quite a few dead people and helped some of them meet their early demise directly and indirectly. I would say he got a lot of excitement for a very low price. I really need to say a couple of words about Raymond Chandler. The guy took simple mindless entertainment called noir and made it an art form: simple as this.
He was copied by practically every single writer who wrote noir since then. I am not talking about the books only - movies, theatrical plays, radio plays, TV mini-series involving a lonely PI have Philip Marlowe as original source of inspiration. Chandler's quality of writing still stands well above that of people who came after him. Add to this a very fast complicated plot with numerous twists and you have a true classic of genre which while aged somewhat is still as entertaining to read, or reread as it was almost eighty years ago when it was first published.
It kept me on the edge of the seat despite the fact that I read it several times before. I would give six stars to this book if I could, but I have to settle for five. View all 34 comments. I felt compelled to tack on some of that awesome cover art to the tail end of my review. Last I heard, Delee was having some internet issues.
Hopefully she'll get it sorted soon. You can still catch nearly all the shows on the internet. Mar 07, AM. Mar 23, James Thane rated it it was amazing Shelves: raymond-chandler , crime-fiction. For whatever reason, this is simply included as another edition of the novel rather than a separate work in its own right, and the only way I was able to find it was to use the ISBN number, which is It brought up the correct edition, but when I clicked on it, GR took me to my original review of the novel itself.
I really enjoyed the annotated version and would give the annotation a solid four stars. It goes literally line by line through the novel, providing fascinating details about the time period, the city of Los Angeles, and, of course, the novel itself. Anyone who loves The Big Sleep would almost certainly enjoy this edition. My original review of The Big Sleep from November, What can one possibly say about this book that has not already been said? When a dying millionaire needs help, Philip Marlowe answers the call and changes forever the course of crime fiction.
This is the first of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe novels, featuring a complex plot with twists and turns so sharp that even the author ultimately couldn't figure them out, but so beautifully written that nobody cares.
And at the heart of it all is the man who will become the prototypical P. But what in the hell am I to do? I'm on a case. I'm selling what I have to sell to make a living. What little guts and intelligence the Lord gave me and a willingness to get pushed around in order to protect a client I'd do the same thing again if I had to.
View all 16 comments. Marlowe is hired by wealthy and dying General Sternwood to see what he can do about illegal gambling debts that his daughter Carmen has incurred. View all 15 comments. Sep 15, Madeline rated it it was ok Shelves: the-list , assigned-reading , detective-fiction. Okay, so it wasn't bad. There's lots of fistfights and shooting and dames, and our detective hero is appropriately jaded and tight-lipped.
The bad guys are crazy, the women are freaks in both the streets and the sheets, and there's a subplot involving a pornography racket. Everyone talks in 30's-tastic slang and usually the reader has no idea what everyone keeps yelling about. It's a violent, fast-paced, garter-snapping the Depression equivalent of bodice-ripping, I imagine detective thriller, Okay, so it wasn't bad. It's a violent, fast-paced, garter-snapping the Depression equivalent of bodice-ripping, I imagine detective thriller, and you could do a lot worse.
Chandler, like his contemporary Dashiel Hammett, has a gift for gorgeous description and atmosphere, and uses it well. But I just can't stomach giving this more than 2 stars. Here's my problem: while I understand that the 's were a very homophobic and sexist time and that books written during that era are bound to include some stuff that makes me uncomfortable, that doesn't mean I'm going to enjoy reading a book where the hero is homophobic and misogynist.
Philip Marlowe, the hard-boiled detective of The Big Sleep , makes Sam Spade look like a refined gentleman in comparison. And I guess he is - Spade has pimp-slapped his share of the ladies, but never tried to assure the reader that "she didn't mind the slap Probably all her boy friends got around to slapping her sooner or later. I could understand how they might. Only a couple of psycho rich girls who Marlowe sneers at while rolling his eyes at their repeated attempts to sleep with him, the stupid whores.
I'll admit, there can be certain guilty pleasure to be had from reading the perspective of such an unashamedly bigoted character. But it gets old fast, and eventually just left a bad taste in my mouth. Thank you for your time, Mr. Marlowe, but I'm casting my lot with Mr. He knows how to treat a lady. Read for: Social Forces in the Detective Novel View all 24 comments. Aug 02, Michael rated it it was amazing. This is a classic noir novel, yet what elevates it above the ordinary, for me, is that it's also a song about Los Angeles, a place I once called home.
LA presents many surfaces for many people--to see and be seen, to fantasize and be the objects of fantasy. But Chandler gets at the dark underside of it all in a way that few writers do.
How to Vote
He sees the city in its stark white light and also in its shadows, he sees the glory and the rottenness and the flimsiness of the city's facades. It's a love song This is a classic noir novel, yet what elevates it above the ordinary, for me, is that it's also a song about Los Angeles, a place I once called home. It's a love song, a siren's song, and also a dirge, all rolled into an action-packed detective novel that carries you away in its own fantasies and hard-boiled lamentations.
I love this book the way I love LA--not uncomplicatedly, but fully nonetheless. View all 22 comments. Aug 15, Stephen rated it really liked it Shelves: hardboiled-and-noir , crime , ebooks. This was the first noir crime fiction book that I ever read and I don't think I could have found a much better place to start. I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy the genre, but decided to test the waters with this classic that introduced the world to the iconic private detective Philip Marlowe. I am very glad I did. This is a fun, fast read and I was immediately sucked in by the superb dialogue, which was both politically incorrect and just slid off the page and into your head.
The 4. The plot, while familiar now, is the root for so many of the standard "noir" plot devices that it was a real trip reading them as they were presented as fresh and genre-bending. Also, the characters were truly top-notch of the bottom drawer as they ranged from total scum to just really bad. This left Marlowe as the good guy by default. This was such a terrific experience that I became an immediate fan of the genre and intend to remain so in the future. Highly Recommended!! He wants Marlowe to deal with an attempt by a bookseller named Arthur Geiger to blackmail his wild young daughter, Carmen.
She had previously been blackmailed by a man named Joe Brody. Sternwood mentions his other, older daughter Vivian is in a loveless marriage with a man named Rust Sternwood mentions his other, older daughter Vivian is in a loveless marriage with a man named Rusty Regan, who has disappeared. On Marlowe's way out, Vivian wonders if he was hired to find Regan, but Marlowe will not say. Nov 17, Jason Koivu rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , fiction. What style! Holy Moses! Chandler writes with a purpose: to put you right in the shit. In The Big Sleep he writes with the economy of biting words that surrounds Philip Marlowe, a detective whose seen the hardbitten world, with the street's lexicon.
But I've read some hardboiled stuff that was boiled down to a tasteless mass. This stuff's full of flavor, bitter and sometimes bittersweet. You've seen the movie, now read the book. They're similar in style, but the story diffe What style! They're similar in style, but the story differs enough to make each quite enjoyable on its own. I was urged to read Chandler by a Goodreads friend or two, and boy I'm glad I did.
However, since this is my first go 'round I'm going to close the dam on this review. The Big Sleep has a twisty, complicated plot and Chandler's writing is good enough that both deserve further reading to give them their due. View all 6 comments. Mar 24, William2 rated it it was ok Shelves: ce , fiction , us. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It struck me as horribly sad how homophobic the book is. This runs counter to Philip Marlowe's otherwise bracing truthfulness.
The two gay characters here are criminals: one is a pornographer, the other a murderer. Though they're not the sole wrongdoers, the relationship they share is viewed with untempered abhorrence. This will be upsetting to some readers, as it was to me, so be advised. This as opposed to, say, action that moves steadily ahead as an end in itself. Philip Marlowe is not an unreliable narrator but he controls the narrative that will be presented to the fictional public.
At several points it becomes necessary to determine precisely what the public narrative will be. Marlowe decides what details are to be included, which left out, which modified. This is connected to the idea of his underlying belief in "the system," though he often verbally disdains it, he views cops as basically honest, as he sees himself.
No matter what happens he is confident that he can talk himself out of it with the truth. He always comes clean to the authorities. He is their enabler, solving mysteries they themselves have been flummoxed by, so they need him, are willing to grant him special dispensation because of his utility. View all 73 comments. Jan 26, Patrick rated it really liked it. Since I've been reading a lot of detective-type urban fantasy lately, I decided to pick up one of the original texts of the genre, just to see what it was like. Chandler wrote this back in , and the book itself holds up remarkably well even though it's been 70 years.
It's very readable. Some of the slang is a little opaque, sure, but not nearly as much as you'd think.
Get 10% off your first Library of America purchase.
And some of the intuitive leaps Philip Marlow takes are a little difficult to grasp. But I'm not sure if that's because 1 th Since I've been reading a lot of detective-type urban fantasy lately, I decided to pick up one of the original texts of the genre, just to see what it was like. But I'm not sure if that's because 1 the cultural gap between now and the time the novels were written. Most interesting to me were the parts of the novel that didn't have anything to do with the story itself.
Marlowe constantly laments how corrupt society and the government are, and I'd always thought of that as a relatively modern sensibility. And the racism and sexism in the book are moderately rampant. Marlow slaps a dame a couple times to bring her to her senses. And there's talk openly demonizing queers and fags.
All of it is so matter-of-fact, it's almost inoffensive. Like when your old grampa who fought in world war two talks about the Japs and counts things "Eenie Meenie Minie Mo. Catch a Nigger by the toe. And he doesn't have anything against the Japs Reading this now, I see how so many people have been following in Chandler's footsteps. Many of the tropes were obviously set down by him, and they carry forward to this day.
All it all, a worthwhile read. But probably more informative that straight-up enjoyable. View all 20 comments. Very late. So it was with a slight sense of unease that I set about exploring the world of Philip Marlowe. The first thing that struck me was the language, well the slang really.
As for the story itself, it was ok. A bit over complicated really and I lost track of the large ish cast at one point. The star attraction is Marlowe himself, who despite his faults really is the sole good guy here. View all 17 comments. Jul 20, Duane rated it really liked it Shelves: american-classics , mystery-crime , rated-books , reviewed-books , book-challenge , audio-books , guardian Chandler's classic crime novel is the first that featured Phillip Marlowe, the famous private detective who would appear in 7 of Chandler's novels.
Humphrey Bogart brought him to life on the silver screen in the production of The Big Sleep. Even though it was written almost 80 years ago, it's not dated, meaning it has an almost modern feel to it. Good writing almost always equals good novel. View all 4 comments. Shelves: private-eye , buddy-reads , noir , classics. What do want a medal or something? At least I know now who to blame for all those hard-drinking, wisecracking PIs that followed. And, this is a story that just oozes style—all the more impressive a feat for a first novel penned way back in What follows is a surprisingly twisty tale involving blackmail, pornography, gambling, and multiple murders.
At one point even keeping a murder scene under wraps to serve his purposes. Anyhow, the good news is that the writing was terrific - at times even highly quotable. The bad news is that the mystery was overcooked. It was all a bit too convoluted for my taste, and the ending especially was rather weak.
A brief Wikipedia search confirmed that was indeed the case, and I must say, it shows. There were also a few overly descriptive sections early on, but those seemed to diminish as the story began to hit its stride. Or can I call you Phil? One of the benefits that comes with age is an abundance of time to amass a vast wardrobe. Here are a few of my favorite jackets. View all 38 comments. The fifth?
- Léo, lautre fils (French Edition).
- Newest listings by Raymond Chandler.
- Six Romances. No. 1. Do Not Believe, My Friend.
- About the Author.
- Get the Book Marks Bulletin;
- Christ lag in Todesbanden - Score.
If you decide to mine the medium past, then: Promised Land by Robert B. Requiem by Robert Crais. Upon deconstruction, it did not start out as a masterpiece. Boiled down, the detective novel slowly expands to define the parameters of the mystery what apparently happened while gradually peeling away layers revealing what actually happened , until both threads arrive at an end point the solution.
There are no layers to the plot of The Big Sleep. Instead there are clusters. Which in a way is not too surprising; it is said Chandler cannibalized two earlier short stories in the creation of this work. General Guy Sternwood, retired and rich, infirm and nearing the end of his life, hires private eye Philip Marlowe to put a stop to a blackmail attempt concerning one of his two rambunctious daughters.
He would examine it more closely in short order. It is the second of the aforementioned clusters of criminal activity he would have to sort through. The first are the blackmailers. A third arises before the novel is finished. They are connected more by tenuous threads than woven as parts of a greater tapestry. Marlowe dogmatically unravels them nonetheless. Then what makes this a classic? Putting aside the smooth narrative and the rich atmosphere, remember, you can only examine the inner workings of a novel after completion.
The actual reading experience must reign. With The Big Sleep the true layers of complexity lay not so much with the plot as with the man. Philip Marlowe is more than honest; he is honorable: a condition that inherently includes the inability to walk away leaving immorality unexposed. He willing follows paths scorched black by those with souls shrouded by darkness. It weighs heavily upon him. Perhaps it is because he has become too aware of how the world around him works. Corrupt police departments are a result of corrupt cities. Corrupt politicians exist to fill the needs of that city.
Corrupt citizenry have picked corruption as its means of survival. And through it all Marlowe, a prominent contrast with his environment, continues forward armed with the belief that loyalty to a just client and the ability unearth the truth from beneath overwhelming nastiness will somehow help stem the tide, if only for a precious, deserving few, if only for a while. It is the slow, layered reveal of those beliefs and the testing of them at the conclusion of the novel that resonates with the reader.
The hero tested is the core ingredient to good fiction. The hero morally tested elevates the norm into something greater. When this internal conflict is elegantly presented and intimately felt, immortality is achieved. Which is why The Big Sleep will remain forever relevant. Reading a hard-boiled detective novel long past the point when I'd already learned lots of things about the hard-boiled detective novel was an interesting experience. Marlowe's blunt, quippy language, his day drinking, and his over-the-top descriptions of women delighted me, not just on their own merits but simply because it was fun to read something that was exactly the way I'd always heard it would be.
When a dying millionaire hires Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complicatio When plotting a murder figuratively speaking , the mystery writer has at hand any number of M.
Red Wind. Farewell, My Lovely. Philip Marlowe. The Lady in the Lake. Trouble Is My Business. Chandler takes you right into the story and makes you a part of things, and with a lot of style to boot. Some liked the way that the main character, Marlowe, talks about interesting ideas that do not tie in to the story that much, but are still interesting to read about.
Some felt that, at times, Chandler makes you work harder than some authors writing mysteries today do, feeling that Marlowe makes leaps that are not always obvious. Some readers did not like how dated the movie is and how full the novel is of ancient ideas like being sexist or homophobic. Due to the fact that the club was sold not long ago, no one knows his girlfriend. Moose kills the black owner of the club and escapes.
Lieutenant Nulty, an LAPD detective that is assigned the case does not care about a black man getting killed. Fans of the novel loved how quotable the novel was, even more than the first novel and great writing and a solid plot to keep readers hooked from page one. For modern times, some enjoyed how sexist, racist, and homophobic he is; back when the novel was written, there was no such thing as politically correct. The readers of this novel know why Chandler is such a popular and talented guy when it comes to noir fiction.
The voice that he writes with can be seen from a mile away and makes it difficult, if not impossible, to look away from. Some readers did not like how dated some of the ideas that are expressed are in the novel, finding that there was a lot of politically uncorrect things in the novel.
Some found that the novel is just too hard to get into, too hard to figure out the slang or the language that Chandler is using because it is an older book. His legacy as a crime author is so large that an award was set up in , called the Raymond Chandler Award, to pay tribute to an author who shows a exceptional ability to use the mystery genre in all of its forms. If you see one missing just send me an e-mail below.
Book s. The guy is a master!
- Vern and His Butterfly Migration!
- Author Essay.
- The Big Sleep.
- The Black Widow Spider Mystery (The Boxcar Children Special series).
- Communities and Conservation: Histories and Politics of Community-Based Natural Resource Management (Globalization and the Environment);
- Raymond Chandler bibliography.
- Apocrypha of the Apocalypse: A Collection of Short Stories from the End of the World.