2021 new arrival The sale Big Sleep outlet online sale (A Philip Marlowe Novel) outlet sale

2021 new arrival The sale Big Sleep outlet online sale (A Philip Marlowe Novel) outlet sale

2021 new arrival The sale Big Sleep outlet online sale (A Philip Marlowe Novel) outlet sale
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Description

Product Description

The iconic first novel from crime fiction master Raymond Chandler, featuring Philip Marlowe, the "quintessential urban private eye" (Los Angeles Times).

A dying millionaire hires private eye Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, and Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in.

Amazon.com Review

"His thin, claw-like hands were folded loosely on the rug, purple-nailed. A few locks of dry white hair clung to his scalp, like wild flowers fighting for life on a bare rock." Published in 1939, when Raymond Chandler was 50, this is the first of the Philip Marlowe novels. Its bursts of sex, violence, and explosively direct prose changed detective fiction forever. "She was trouble. She was tall and rangy and strong-looking. Her hair was black and wiry and parted in the middle. She had a good mouth and a good chin. There was a sulky droop to her lips and the lower lip was full."

From Library Journal

Chandler is not only the best writer of hardboiled PI stories, he''s one of the 20th century''s top scribes, period. His full canon of novels and short stories is reprinted in trade paper featuring uniform covers in Black Lizard''s signature style. A handsome set for a reasonable price.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Raymond Chandler is a master." -- The New York Times

“[Chandler] wrote as if pain hurt and life mattered.” -- The New Yorker

“Chandler seems to have created the culminating American hero: wised up, hopeful, thoughtful, adventurous, sentimental, cynical and rebellious.” --Robert B. Parker, The New York Times Book Review

“Philip Marlowe remains the quintessential urban private eye.” -- Los Angeles Times

“Nobody can write like Chandler on his home turf, not even Faulkner. . . . An original. . . . A great artist.” — The Boston Book Review

“Raymond Chandler was one of the finest prose writers of the twentieth century. . . . Age does not wither Chandler’s prose. . . . He wrote like an angel.” -- Literary Review

“[T]he prose rises to heights of unselfconscious eloquence, and we realize with a jolt of excitement that we are in the presence of not a mere action tale teller, but a stylist, a writer with a vision.” --Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books

“Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence.” —Ross Macdonald

“Raymond Chandler is a star of the first magnitude.” --Erle Stanley Gardner

“Raymond Chandler invented a new way of talking about America, and America has never looked the same to us since.” --Paul Auster

“[Chandler]’s the perfect novelist for our times. He takes us into a different world, a world that’s like ours, but isn’t. ” --Carolyn See

From the Inside Flap

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 complications he gets caught up in.

"Chandler [writes] like a slumming angel and invest[s] the sun-blinded streets of Los Angelos with a romantic presence."
--Ross Macdonald

From the Back Cover

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 complications he gets caught up in.
"Chandler [writes] like a slumming angel and invest[s] the sun-blinded streets of Los Angelos with a romantic presence."
--Ross Macdonald

About the Author

Raymond Thornton Chandler (1888 - 1959) was the master practitioner of American hard-boiled crime fiction. Although he was born in Chicago, Chandler spent most of his boyhood and youth in England where he attended Dulwich College and later worked as a freelance journalist for The Westminster Gazette and The Spectator. During World War I, Chandler served in France with the First Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, transferring later to the Royal Flying Corps (R. A. F.). In 1919 he returned to the United States, settling in California, where he eventually became director of a number of independent oil companies. The Depression put an end to his career, and in 1933, at the age of forty-five, he turned to writing fiction, publishing his first stories in Black Mask. Chandler’s detective stories often starred the brash but honorable Philip Marlowe (introduced in 1939 in his first novel, The Big Sleep) and were noted for their literate presentation and dead-on critical eye. Never a prolific writer, Chandler published only one collection of stories and seven novels in his lifetime. Some of Chandler’s novels, like The Big Sleep, were made into classic movies which helped define the film noir style. In the last year of his life he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. He died in La Jolla, California on March 26, 1959.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

ONE

It was about eleven o''clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn''t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.

The main hallway of the Sternwood place was two stories high. Over the entrance doors, which would have let in a troop of Indian elephants, there was a broad stained-glass panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn''t have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair. The knight had pushed the vizor of his helmet back to be sociable, and he was fiddling with the knots on the ropes that tied the lady to the tree and not getting anywhere. I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house, I would sooner or later have to climb up there and help him. He didn''t seem to be really trying.

There were French doors at the back of the hall, beyond them a wide sweep of emerald grass to a white garage, in front of which a slim dark young chauffeur in shiny black leggings was dusting a maroon Packard convertible. Beyond the garage were some decorative trees trimmed as carefully as poodle dogs. Beyond them a large greenhouse with a domed roof. Then more trees and beyond everything the solid, uneven, comfortable line of the foothills.

On the east side of the hall a free staircase, tile-paved, rose to a gallery with a wrought-iron railing and another piece of stained-glass romance. Large hard chairs with rounded red plush seats were backed into the vacant spaces of the wall round about. They didn''t look as if anybody had ever sat in them. In the middle of the west wall there was a big empty fireplace with a brass screen in four hinged panels, and over the fireplace a marble mantel with cupids at the corners. Above the mantel there was a large oil portrait, and above the portrait two bullet-torn or moth-eaten cavalry pennants crossed in a glass frame. The portrait was a stiffly posed job of an officer in full regimentals of about the time of the Mexican war. The officer had a neat black imperial, black mustachios, hot hard coal-black eyes, and the general look of a man it would pay to get along with. I thought this might be General Sternwood''s grandfather. It could hardly be the General himself, even though I had heard he was pretty far gone in years to have a couple of daughters still in the dangerous twenties.

I was still staring at the hot black eyes when a door opened far back under the stairs. It wasn''t the butler coming back. It was a girl.

She was twenty or so, small and delicately put together, but she looked durable. She wore pale blue slacks and they looked well on her. She walked as if she were floating. Her hair was a fine tawny wave cut much shorter than the current fashion of pageboy tresses curled in at the bottom. Her eyes were slate-gray, and had almost no expression when they looked at me. She came over near me and smiled with her mouth and she had little sharp predatory teeth, as white as fresh orange pith and as shiny as porcelain. They glistened between her thin too taut lips. Her face lacked color and didn''t look too healthy.

"Tall, aren''t you?" she said.

"I didn''t mean to be."

Her eyes rounded. She was puzzled. She was thinking. I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her.

"Handsome too," she said. "And I bet you know it."

I grunted.

"What''s your name?"

"Reilly," I said. "Doghouse Reilly."

"That''s a funny name." She bit her lip and turned her head a little and looked at me along her eyes. Then she lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theater curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air.

"Are you a prizefighter?" she asked, when I didn''t.

"Not exactly. I''m a sleuth."

"A--a--" She tossed her head angrily, and the rich color of it glistened in the rather dim light of the big hall. "You''re making fun of me."

"Uh-uh."

"What?"

"Get on with you," I said. "You heard me."

"You didn''t say anything. You''re just a big tease." She put a thumb up and bit it. It was a curiously shaped thumb, thin and narrow like an extra finger, with no curve in the first joint. She bit it and sucked it slowly, turning it around in her mouth like a baby with a comforter.

"You''re awfully tall," she said. Then she giggled with secret merriment. Then she turned her body slowly and lithely, without lifting her feet. Her hands dropped limp at her sides. She tilted herself towards me on her toes. She fell straight back into my arms. I had to catch her or let her crack her head on the tessellated floor. I caught her under her arms and she went rubber-legged on me instantly. I had to hold her close to hold her up. When her bead was against my chest she screwed it around and giggled at me.

"You''re cute," she giggled. "I''m cute too."

I didn''t say anything. So the butler chose that convenient moment to come back through the French doors and see me holding her.

It didn''t seem to bother him. He was a tall, thin, silver man, sixty or close to it or a little past it. He had blue eyes as remote as eyes could be. His skin was smooth and bright and he moved like a man with very sound muscles. He walked slowly across the floor towards us and the girl jerked away from me. She flashed across the room to the foot of the stairs and went up them like a deer. She was gone before I could draw a long breath and let it out.

The butler said tonelessly: "The General will see you now, Mr. Marlowe."

I pushed my lower jaw up off my chest and nodded at him. "Who was that?"

"Miss Carmen Sternwood, sir."

"You ought to wean her. She looks old enough."

He looked at me with grave politeness and repeated what he had said.

TWO

We went out at the French doors and along a smooth red-flagged path that skirted the far side of the lawn from the garage. The boyish-looking chauffeur had a big black and chromium sedan out now and was dusting that. The path took us along to the side of the greenhouse and the butler opened a door for me and stood aside. It opened into a sort of vestibule that was about as warm as a slow oven. He came in after me, shut the outer door, opened an inner door and we went through that. Then it was really hot. The air was thick, wet, steamy and larded with the cloying smell of tropical orchids in bloom. The glass walls and roof were heavily misted and big drops of moisture splashed down on the plants. The light had an unreal greenish color, like light filtered through an aquarium tank. The plants filled the place, a forest of them, with nasty meaty leaves and stalks like the newly washed fingers of dead men. They smelled as overpowering as boiling alcohol under a blanket.

The butler did his best to get me through without being smacked in the face by the sodden leaves, and after a while we came to a clearing in the middle of the jungle, under the domed roof. Here, in a space of hexagonal flags, an old red Turkish rug was laid down and on the rug was a wheel chair, and in the wheel chair an old and obviously dying man watched us come with black eyes from which all fire had died long ago, but which still had the coal-black directness of the eyes in the portrait that hung above the mantel in the hall. The rest of his face was a leaden mask, with the bloodless lips and the sharp nose and the sunken temples and the outward-turning earlobes of approaching dissolution. His long narrow body was wrapped--in that heat--in a traveling rug and a faded red bathrobe. His thin clawlike hands were folded loosely on the rug, purple-nailed. A few locks of dry white hair clung to his scalp, like wild flowers fighting for life on a bare rock.

The butler stood in front of him and said: "This is Mr. Marlowe, General."

The old man didn''t move or speak, or even nod. He just looked at me lifelessly. The butler pushed a damp wicker chair against the backs of my legs and I sat down. He took my hat with a deft scoop.

Then the old man dragged his voice up from the bottom of a well and said: "Brandy, Norris. How do you like your brandy, sir?"

"Any way at all," I said.

The butler went away among the abominable plants. The General spoke again, slowly, using his strength as carefully as an out-of-work show-girl uses her last good pair of stockings.

"I used to like mine with champagne. The champagne as cold as Valley Forge and about a third of a glass of brandy beneath it. You may take your coat off, sir. It''s too hot in here for a man with blood in his veins."

I stood up and peeled off my coat and got a handkerchief out and mopped my face and neck and the backs of my wrists. St. Louis in August had nothing on that place. I sat down again and I felt automatically for a cigarette and then stopped. The old man caught the gesture and smiled faintly.

"You may smoke, sir. I like the smell of tobacco."

I lit the cigarette and blew a lungful at him and he sniffed at it like a terrier at a rathole. The faint smile pulled at the shadowed corners of his mouth.

"A nice state of affairs when a man has to indulge his vices by proxy," he said dryly. "You are looking at a very dull survival of a rather gaudy life, a cripple paralyzed in both legs and with only half of his lower belly. There''s very little that I can eat and my sleep is so close to waking that it is hardly worth the name. I seem to exist largely on heat, like a newborn spider, and the orchids are an excuse for the heat. Do you like orchids?"

"Not particularly," I said.

The General half-closed his eyes. "They are nasty things. Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men. And their perfume has the rotten sweetness of a prostitute."

I stared at him with my mouth open. The soft wet heat was like a pall around us. The old man nodded, as if his neck was afraid of the weight of his head. Then the butler came pushing back through the jungle with a teawagon, mixed me a brandy and soda, swathed the copper ice bucket with a damp napkin, and went away softly among the orchids. A door opened and shut behind the jungle.

I sipped the drink. The old man licked his lips watching me, over and over again, drawing one lip slowly across the other with a funeral absorption, like an undertaker dry-washing his hands.

"Tell me about yourself, Mr. Marlowe. I suppose I have a right to ask?"

"Sure, but there''s very little to tell. I''m thirty-three years old, went to college once and can still speak English if there''s any demand for it. There isn''t much in my trade. I worked for Mr. Wilde, the District Attorney, as an investigator once. His chief investigator, a man named Bernie Ohls, called me and told me you wanted to see me. I''m unmarried because I don''t like policemen''s wives."

"And a little bit of a cynic," the old man smiled. "You didn''t like working for Wilde?"

"I was fired. For insubordination. I test very high on insubordination, General."

"I always did myself, sir. I''m glad to hear it. What do you know about my family?"

"I''m told you are a widower and have two young daughters, both pretty and both wild. One of them has been married three times, the last time to an ex-bootlegger who went in the trade by the name of Rusty Regan. That''s all I heard, General."

"Did any of it strike you as peculiar?"

"The Rusty Regan part, maybe. But I always got along with bootleggers myself."

He smiled his faint economical smile. "It seems I do too. I''m very fond of Rusty. A big curly-headed Irishman from Clonmel, with sad eyes and a smile as wide as Wilshire Boulevard. The first time I saw him I thought he might be what you are probably thinking he was, an adventurer who happened to get himself wrapped up in some velvet."

"You must have liked him," I said. "You learned to talk the language."

He put his thin bloodless hands under the edge of the rug. I put my cigarette stub out and finished my drink.

"He was the breath of life to me--while he lasted. He spent hours with me, sweating like a pig, drinking brandy by the quart and telling me stories of the Irish revolution. He had been an officer in the I.R.A. He wasn''t even legally in the United States. It was a ridiculous marriage of course, and it probably didn''t last a month, as a marriage. I''m telling you the family secrets, Mr. Marlowe."

"They''re still secrets," I said. "What happened to him?"

The old man looked at me woodenly. "He went away, a month ago. Abruptly, without a word to anyone. Without saying good-bye to me. That hurt a little, but he had been raised in a rough school. I''ll hear from him one of these days. Meantime I am being blackmailed again."

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Top reviews from the United States

MagnoliaSouth
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Elegance of the well written word!
Reviewed in the United States on July 4, 2017
My review here is a drop in the bucket compared with the great number of them all. Also, book reviews at Amazon are often hits and misses and often do not contain what I want to know. I prefer not to discuss the synopsis. There are tons of synopses all over the web and so... See more
My review here is a drop in the bucket compared with the great number of them all. Also, book reviews at Amazon are often hits and misses and often do not contain what I want to know. I prefer not to discuss the synopsis. There are tons of synopses all over the web and so you can find those anywhere. Again, I simply don''t feel they belong in a book review. I want to know other things.

If you''ve not read anything by Raymond Chandler, then the first thing that you''ll notice is his descriptive writing. I love it! Take a simple phone booth call, "I dropped my nickel and dialed his number just for fun." There are too many great lines to count, but another of my favorites is, "A few tentative raindrops splashed down on the sidewalk and made spots as large as nickels." I can almost hear Humphrey Bogart reading the book to me.

The film is best known for its confusion, but the book irons those issues straight out. What is really interesting to me is how the then-modern world saw itself. They refer to old fashioned values as Victorian. Homosexuality was out there in a kind of don''t ask don''t tell way, much like the 80s, actually. However, they were not afraid to notice it. In fact, one man goes both ways in the book! Casual sex did exist, despite what the Hollywood Hays Code wanted everyone to believe. However, I see a lot of misinformed folks making statements about this. City life was different than small-town life. A small town in California is incredibly different than a small town in other parts of the country. Morals are only what a community makes them to be. They shouldn''t be forced on anyone and this book actually kind of leads you to that kind of understanding. Morals are personal, not law. Too many confuse that these days.

The steady paced reader could finish this book in less than 7 hours, without any breaks. However, I didn''t read it at a steady pace, unless you call crawling along a steady pace and in a way that''s really what it was. I liked to savor his words. Raymond Chandler is a descriptive genius. Now there comes a problem too. When there is too much of it, it kind of sounds overdone. There were only a couple of times though that I saw this problem. I have to admit that his craft was interesting because he normally balanced it with interesting dialog with a lot of sarcasm. "... you have to hold your teeth clamped around Hollywood to keep from chewing on stray blondes."

The slanguage is fascinating. If you''ve never read anything like this before, you''re sure to learn a whole bunch of new slang. For example, a police badge is called a "buzzer" and I think "buttons" was police, which is probably referring to their uniforms if I even had that right but you get the idea.

The story is actually two of them. There is a link between them but this easily could have been broken up into two novellas. If I had to make a complaint, it would be the very ending. I think more explanation of someone''s intention is necessary but I think that''s only an error of time and science. In that day, health and the psyche were still in the early stages and many things they believed then are not necessarily how it worked. I know that sounds cryptic but it''s the best way I can describe it without spoiling a single thing.

All in all, it''s simply a fantastic book! I think even those who don''t like mysteries would enjoy it because of its prose alone. If you''re easily offended though, stay away. This is not a book for those kinds of pansy people, which I think Chandler would call them today. This is about what people were like and the morals that they had. It is to be enjoyed, not scorned.
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James Wink
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Classic With Some Modern Problems
Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2018
I am a fan of noire -- but never read a Raymond Chandler novel. Needless to say I looked forward to reading the Big Sleep. A classic noire filled centered around private-eye Phillip Marlowe - the least corrupt person in the city of angels. The book revolves around a case... See more
I am a fan of noire -- but never read a Raymond Chandler novel. Needless to say I looked forward to reading the Big Sleep. A classic noire filled centered around private-eye Phillip Marlowe - the least corrupt person in the city of angels. The book revolves around a case given to Marlowe from a dying man regarding the blackmail of his daughter. As any proper noire - things get far more complicated with every character holding deeper secrets for Marlow to ferret out.

Finishing the book - I came away unsatisfied on several front and some quick research help solidify my problems despite the novel being on many top-100 lists. First - Chandler combined two short stories and combined characters in writing the Big Sleep. This is evident at the 2/3 mark when the case makes a major turning point. It makes the novel seem a little disjointed. The second problem is more modern - some of the descriptions and actions (especially the women in the story) are at best problematic or at worst offensive. They aren''t sophisticated characters but rather bad cliches that were cliches even in the 40s. I really expected a better book and regret that it came away a little disappointed. I still give it 3-stars for the overall prose, descriptions of 1940s Los Angeles, and the fact it is a considered a classic novel -- only with a caveat.
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Marcus Twain
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Vintage/Random House edition ebook
Reviewed in the United States on July 8, 2020
For Vintage/Random House to publish this ebook in block paragraphs instead of traditional paragraphs and spacing is unconscionable and pathetic. Ten bucks? This edition isn''t worth ten cents. When are these big-ass publishers gonna wake up and format their ebooks... See more
For Vintage/Random House to publish this ebook in block paragraphs instead of traditional paragraphs and spacing is unconscionable and pathetic. Ten bucks? This edition isn''t worth ten cents. When are these big-ass publishers gonna wake up and format their ebooks correctly?
8 people found this helpful
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Mal Warwick
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A disappointing dip into one of the classics of the genre
Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2019
How much do we owe yesterday''s literary greats? Enough to forgive them the racism, sexism, and homophobia that so often crops up in some of their work? I for one am inclined to be tolerant, since I recognize how much our culture has evolved in recent decades. But it''s... See more
How much do we owe yesterday''s literary greats? Enough to forgive them the racism, sexism, and homophobia that so often crops up in some of their work? I for one am inclined to be tolerant, since I recognize how much our culture has evolved in recent decades. But it''s sometimes hard to take nonetheless. And that''s the biggest problem I''ve had with The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler''s classic first Philip Marlowe novel.

If you''re not familiar with the name Philip Marlowe, think Humphrey Bogart, who played him onscreen. As Chandler himself said of Bogart after the filming of The Big Sleep, "Bogart can be tough without a gun. Also, he has a sense of humor that contains that grating undertone of contempt." All of which comes through clearly in the novel.

The classic first Philip Marlowe novel

The Big Sleep was published in 1939, well before the US entry into World War II. The country was still reeling from the Great Depression after nearly a decade. General Sternwood, the wealthy man who hires Marlowe at the outset of the story, is said to have a fortune of four million dollars. Translate that into today''s deflated currency, and it''s roughly $80 million.

Wise-guy patter and acting tough

The story revolves around General Sternwood''s two spoiled young daughters. Carmen is not yet eighteen, and she''s not very bright. Vivian, who''s several years older and clearly more intelligent, was briefly married to a former IRA brigade commander who suddenly left her months earlier. And somehow her husband''s disappearance seems to be connected to the blackmail attempt that the general has hired Marlowe to thwart. This being hard-boiled fiction, Marlowe will naturally have many opportunities to show off his wide-guy patter and act tough. And of course he''ll discover that all the threads he''s following as he digs deeper into the circumstances surrounding the blackmail effort are closely intertwined.

It''s easy to see how this novel has come to be seen as a template for the hard-boiled detective tales of the 1940s and 50s. Marlowe is, of course, the avatar of that breed. Chandler endows him with all the requisite traits, from a menacing look to a fast mouth and a taste for beautiful women. But haven''t we had enough of these men by now?

About the author

Raymond Chandler''s first stories appeared in Black Mask magazine during the early years of the Depression. Later, he came to be considered one of the founders of the "hard-boiled" school of detective fiction. Black Mask also published Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, and others. In all their work, the dialogue is crisp, the detective is tough and a wise guy, and the bodies pile up. It''s all a little much looking back from the perspective of eighty years.
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Mountain Cat Mom
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Extremely Disapointed
Reviewed in the United States on March 16, 2021
Well a friend recommended the Chandler books with Phillip Marlowe as being so wonderful & I read a few reviews of some of them & it seemed The Big Sleep was supposed to be one of the most liked. I kept reading only because my friend so highly recommended it, but it was a... See more
Well a friend recommended the Chandler books with Phillip Marlowe as being so wonderful & I read a few reviews of some of them & it seemed The Big Sleep was supposed to be one of the most liked. I kept reading only because my friend so highly recommended it, but it was a huge struggle reading all the through. I kept hoping I find the reason it''s so well liked, but NO I would not recommend it to anyone. It was way too long & wordy with descriptions & geesh I guess maybe some folks just like all of the in my opinion long drawn out descriptions of it. I''ve hardly ever given a 1 star review & maybe never, but this time yes just 1 star.
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Dave Wilde
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Here Comes Marlowe
Reviewed in the United States on February 16, 2020
Chandler''s The Big Sleep was his first published novel and gave us Philip Marlowe, everyone''s favorite Hardboiled private eye. Marlowe, who is also portrayed so well by Bogart in the movie of the same name, is a moody, taciturn private eye with his own sense of right and... See more
Chandler''s The Big Sleep was his first published novel and gave us Philip Marlowe, everyone''s favorite Hardboiled private eye. Marlowe, who is also portrayed so well by Bogart in the movie of the same name, is a moody, taciturn private eye with his own sense of right and wrong. Setting the stage for future novels, he finds himself protecting a crazy rich family and finding that the denizens behind the high walls and locked gates are up to their eyeballs in gambling, blackmail, murder, and petty rages. This book is a classic that sets the stages for decades of private eyes. Marlowe here is tough. He''s nobody''s patsy. And he''s not the bumbling joker so many PIs in the fifties became. So many great lines here. Just a great amount of fun to read, even knowing how it all plays out in the end.
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Ella Mc
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Better than the movies, and not at all marred by knowing the end
Reviewed in the United States on May 10, 2018
I wanted to read Raymond Chandler''s Philip Marlowe series, but I was worried that I might be too influenced by 50 years of watching movies. I was concerned that I might keep picturing Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, but once I started the novel, the characterization is... See more
I wanted to read Raymond Chandler''s Philip Marlowe series, but I was worried that I might be too influenced by 50 years of watching movies. I was concerned that I might keep picturing Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, but once I started the novel, the characterization is so well done that my worry now seems silly. Not only are the characters well-written, the novel itself is a joy. It''s self-assured yet manages to be surprising. Despite modern sensibilities I felt far less put off by the depictions of women and minorities than I have been in other literature (though it''s important to remember the time in which it was written,) and just as I''ve come to expect from this era''s literature - everyone drinks a lot (that''s not a good thing, but it is true.) Even knowing how this story was going to unfold, I was drawn in by the story and could picture every step Marlowe took. There are "broads" and "dames" but the books feel less tawdry than the movies do. I''m working my way through the series, and I will admit the tone wears a bit thin if I read too much without throwing another book or type of book in the mix. That''s fine - unlike the characters and their liquor, I will savor each one slowly, imbibing over time.
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Felipe Adan Lerma
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A classic, modern enough for the 21st century
Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2015
Wow, didn''t realize there were so many paper editions and evidently even a dramatized digital version. For clarity, and looking inside my copy, this review is for a paper First Vintage/Black Lizard Edition, August 1992. I couldn''t find a matching cover to the couple dozen... See more
Wow, didn''t realize there were so many paper editions and evidently even a dramatized digital version. For clarity, and looking inside my copy, this review is for a paper First Vintage/Black Lizard Edition, August 1992. I couldn''t find a matching cover to the couple dozen choices under the paperback versions, so I chose to post my review here.

I did read a few 1 and 2 star reviews after I''d finished the book, and I can understand someone not caring for a particular style, but had a hard time, without concrete examples, imagining what was boring or outdated (other than a few terms: "buzzer pinned to the flap" - "slaty eyes" - "a six mover"). Nothing more than I find reading British books (I''m in Texas), and the Kindle app usually can get me a definition for the cultural variances pretty easily. And that might be a good reason to opt for a digital version, though I personally would want to avoid any "dramatized" versions the reviews bring up. I feel I probably read the author''s original intent in my edition.

The descriptive atmosphere was sparing but, I thought, extremely effectively used. "Seaward a few gulls wheeled and swooped over something in the surf and far out a white yacht looked as if it was hanging in the sky." - "A nasty building. A building in which the smell of stale cigar butts would be the cleanest odor."

Which brings me to two other things I really liked about Raymond Chandler''s writing: sentence variation and a wry sense of self humor.

I had been under the mistaken impression that Chandler mostly or even only used short sentences. In fact his has quite a variety, including the use of complex compound sentences followed by short fragments. The effect is stimulating and powerful:

"I came out at a service station glaring with wasted light, where a bored attendant in a white cap and a dark blue windbreaker sat hunched on a stool, inside the steamed glass, reading a paper. I started in, then kept going. I was as wet as I could get already. And on a night like that you can grow a beard waiting for a taxi. And taxi drivers remember."

The humor, I felt, was subtle. Enjoyed it tremendously.

There''s much more I could mention, pro and con, the well developed slowly evolving plot, the relationships and attitudes among the women and men, and lack of hispanics, blacks, or other ethnic groups (descriptive of the times) - but I''ll end with Raymond''s figurative use of language.

I think the first contemporary author I became acutely aware of in their use of metaphors and similes was James Patterson in Zoo. In my review of Zoo, I mentioned how well they worked, most of the time, but occasionally seemed to veer off as not fitting the tone of the passage.

I don''t feel this is the case at all in The Big Sleep. The similes and metaphors are well spaced through-out from beginning to end. Appearing a bit more frequently during times of tension or mystery. And never, to my reading, out of place or jarring from the story:

"Another man sat at the corner of the desk in a blue leather chair, a cold-eyed hatchet-faced man, as lean as a rake and as hard as the manager of a loan office." - "I pushed a flat tin of cigarettes at him. His small neat fingers speared one like a trout taking the fly." - "Her very blue eyes flashed so sharply that I could almost see the sweep of their glance, like the sweep of sword."

For me, this is top flight quality writing that entertains.

About as pure a 5 Star as I can give.
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Kate the Reader
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A beautifully written but complex storyline
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 22, 2019
So many other people have reviewed this book in past years I probably can find nothing new to say. I can say is that the descriptive writing is brilliant. This no doubt helped to give the producers of the film ideas for sets which are recognizable. Marlowe is an independent...See more
So many other people have reviewed this book in past years I probably can find nothing new to say. I can say is that the descriptive writing is brilliant. This no doubt helped to give the producers of the film ideas for sets which are recognizable. Marlowe is an independent worker, having been kicked out of the police. He has his own moral code and protects his clients'' interests. The collection of characters are a very mixed bunch. The background is based in Prohibition US America. Guns abound and are used. The plot is complex and at times difficult to follow. This is the result of it being a mash-up of several previously published short stories which appeared in a periodical. There is also a loose end in that one of the murders remains unsolved. The film makers chose to leave it out of the film completely. For anyone interested in the development of private eye fiction it is a must read work.
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A. R. Marston
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A classic Detective yarn.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 2, 2020
My very first introduction to Marlowe and a welcome one at that. I am compelled to say that by virtue of the era in which it was written that there is a startling and enjoyable absence of the political correctness that is so eminent today. I’m not complaining though as I...See more
My very first introduction to Marlowe and a welcome one at that. I am compelled to say that by virtue of the era in which it was written that there is a startling and enjoyable absence of the political correctness that is so eminent today. I’m not complaining though as I found it to be a momentary relief from the restraints of contemporary barriers. Basically it is very sexist is what I’m trying to say and whilst I don’t condone the attitudes of yesteryear I accept what was the reality then. It’s just as well that as we read the last page of the book and on closing the back cover that we also entomb some of the attitudes within it. I hasten to add that this doesn’t detract from the ultimate quality of the prose. Chandler isn’t an eminent writer for nothing. He has an uncanny knack of getting you hooked and reeling you in to the last paragraph and I’m not complaining. I enjoyed Chandler’s sharp wit and had to laugh out loud at his routine quips and observations about society in general. I must say though that I had to research some of the American slang which even in the States has probably vanished from general usage. Chandler is an accomplished writer which is why his popularity has endured so long. Reading his book does transport the reader back into the 40’s where it is unavoidable to hear the tones of Humphrey Bogart narrating the theme as he makes his next move. I even caught myself imagining the scenes in monochrome as Marlowe ruminated over the course of events. Now that I have read the first book in the series, I will take a short break and return when the mood takes me. I’m beginning to miss Phillip Marlowe already, maybe I’ll take a look at his next antics, I believe that he will be saying Farewell my lovely to some dumb Broad oops!
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I. C. Pizzie
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
So disappointed!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 17, 2018
It is not a fair review really as I did not get past about 13% of the story. But I just could not continue. Marlowe was perhaps too engrained in my head, and I just didn''t believe in him. His comments about women and ''jewesses'' were jarring, and there was one sentence at...See more
It is not a fair review really as I did not get past about 13% of the story. But I just could not continue. Marlowe was perhaps too engrained in my head, and I just didn''t believe in him. His comments about women and ''jewesses'' were jarring, and there was one sentence at the point I stopped that made no sense to me at all - something about a flash in a car-pocket. So...my point is that this book has a shelf life and in my opinion has passed it. I am sure many others disagree as I know this is considered a classic. I can cope with classics that are outdated usually but this one was also dull, and I was not drawn in by any of the characters.
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Malcolm Edwards
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
like Marlowe himself
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 10, 2017
Philip Marlowe, a PI, is contracted by an elderly millionaire who is dying. The old man is concerned to find out what happened to his son-in-law, who has disappeared. Marlowe''s investigation leads him through various demimondes of Los Angeles, where nothing is what it at...See more
Philip Marlowe, a PI, is contracted by an elderly millionaire who is dying. The old man is concerned to find out what happened to his son-in-law, who has disappeared. Marlowe''s investigation leads him through various demimondes of Los Angeles, where nothing is what it at first seems to be. There are the inevitable deaths and killings, encounters with petty criminals, sinister businessmen, assassins, and with the millionaire''s two damaged daughters. Chandler creates a powerful and saturating sense of the anarchy that lies below the mansions and glitter of 30s Los Angeles, and the emptiness of the lives of both the wealthy, and the assorted crooks, chancers and victims who feature in his story. In the end, perhaps, all these people are, like Marlowe himself, looking for something to give their lives shape and meaning. Chandler''s characters (including those who don''t last long) are for the most part real and alive, and he avoids simplistic divisions into ''good'' and ''bad''. Which is not to say that there are no bad people in the book, but that the dividing line is not always clear. People act, mainly badly, for what they see as their own interests or their own survival. Marlowe''s voice is often censorious, but he is intelligent and wise enough to see people for what they are, and the reader infers that he does not feel himself to be morally or humanly superior to others. This was my first dip into Chandler, and early ''hard-boiled'' crime fiction and I was surprised by the frank treatment of sexuality, as well as by the instances of what we coyly call ''swearing'', conveyed int he book by suggestion. Despite - or precisely because of - the seaminess and moral anarchy of the world Marlowe descends into, the book is ultimately about preserving and protecting a sense of humanity. The writing is sharp, sophisticated, often funny and memorable. Chandler/Marlowe have many imitations, but this is the real thing: gritty, painful, existential and seriously human.
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paul
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
uncomfortable reading in the 21st century
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 2, 2020
I have never read Chandler before and was looking forward to it. After reading the first two of the seven novels in these compendiums, I have very mixed feelings. The writing is great and the plots intricate and fast moving. Some of the dialogue is very sharp and snappy....See more
I have never read Chandler before and was looking forward to it. After reading the first two of the seven novels in these compendiums, I have very mixed feelings. The writing is great and the plots intricate and fast moving. Some of the dialogue is very sharp and snappy. But it is shockingly, sometimes almost aggressively, racist, sexist and homophobic. Of couse the 1930s were a different era, but I suspect that even for the time these stories were pretty close to the edge of acceptability. Not sure I can carry on with them, really.
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