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Playback Paperback – 31 Mar 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (31 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241956250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241956250
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Best-known as the creator of the original private eye, Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago in 1888 and died in 1959. Many of his books have been adapted for the screen, and he is widely regarded as one of the very greatest writers of detective fiction.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Officer Dibble VINE VOICE on 15 April 2012
Format: Paperback
The last and least known Marlowe. Most definitely the easiest plot to follow.

An overriding melancholy, as Marlowe, like Chandler, shows his age. It is 20 years since 'The Big Sleep'. 'Playback' reflects many social changes in this period. Chandler was 70 when he wrote this. He seems to struggle with the extent of the liberalisation that has occurred and how to place Marlowe in this environment.

This is especially true with the description of women. One minute a woman like Vivian Sternwood gave off an erotic chage with a scratch of her knee, but 'Nowadays, she's in the bed while you're struggling with your collar-button'.

After debuting as a 'hard-nose', turning into a 'shop-soiled Galahad', we now have a batchelor pining over the temps perdu. The young lovers, Jack and Lucille, with the symbolic 'unpretentious diamond ring', feature disproportionately as a counterpoint to Marlowe's own batchelor future.

Much more detective 'tradecraft' in this book. It's a very good read but it doesn't hit the heights.

It almost gets away with the idea of the sad lonely PI until Chandler 'bottles it' at the end. As a reader, I felt that reading 'Playback' was rather like 'completing the set' and, in truth, it felt like Chandler was doing the same.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Edwards on 3 April 2014
Format: Paperback
First of all, let me just say that I am a big Raymond Chandler fan and think that he is one of the greatest detective novelists of all time; having said that, this book was a bit of a task to get through. I also need to say that it took me three attempts to get through it.

The whole book is rather dull and the plot meanders along without much happening; the characters are uninteresting and even Marlowe himself seems devoid of all personality. The ending resolution is unfulfilling and by the end, it seems that Chandler has taken an awfully long time to say nothing. However, certain sections are indeed quite interesting and towards the end, it definitely gets better.

I truly feel terrible for writing this, since I believe that most of Chandler’s other works are amazing, literary greats; but the truth is that this is his weakest book and it is sadly dull and forgettable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Richards on 19 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Playback is the last completed Philip Marlowe novel, and somehow it feels that way. It lacks the intensity (and brilliance) of the earlier stories. Compared to such masterpieces as The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye this seems a rather shallow affair. However, if you like Chandler this is still very readable.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ross Nockles on 18 Feb. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a good book. The writing style is as enjoyable as the plot. The snappy dialogue and visual imagery make for an almost cinematic experience. Reflecting the social situation of the period it was written in, some modern readers may find some aspects jarring, but it takes only a minor effort to suspend such concerns. The many TV and film derivations make the setting seem at once familiar but this is the source and still shows the originality and skill that made it popular in the first place and demonstrates why all of Raymond Chandler's novels have had many screen adaptations.
Just as with P.G. Wodehouse in a Raymond Chandler the writing is deceptively simple and effortlessly enjoyable by dint of consummate ability with words. Just the right ones, in exactly the right order. For instance - 'she gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket' or 'the furniture had had a great deal of expense spared on it'. Cops, blondes, guns and murders, California in the 40s and an anti-hero in the shape of Philip Marlowe. I hope this reads like a 5 star recommendation - because that is what it is.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Some say not his best, but love the way its a cliff hanger about who is behind it all. Does play on the vintage angle, seems to be aware that even in the 50s, the noire style was a cult. May be loses out on some of the snappy dialogue
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