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The Big Sleep (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Paperback – Aug 1992


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books USA; Reprint edition (Aug. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394758285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394758282
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,523,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Anything Chandler writes about grips the mind from the first sentence' Daily Telegraph 'One of the greatest crime writers, who set the standards others still try to attain' Sunday Times 'Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence' - Ross MacDonald --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Westham on 7 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
Not sure whether a Chandler fanatic should attempt a fair review of a Chandler classic, so let's at least try to be fair. What COULDN'T he do? Well, he couldn't write a plot for a start. The Big Sleep (and other RC novels) is based on two of his earlier short(ish) stories welded together - not exactly seamlessly. For example, who killed the Chauffeur and why? That problem baffled the screen-writer (Forester) and director (Howard Hawkes) of the first Big Sleep movie - they rang Ray to find out - he told them he couldn't remember! Nobody else knows either. I mention it, not to spoil anything, but in the hope that trying to work it out will not drive you nuts (as it did me).
On the other hand he could write like an angel:"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'm currently fighting myself not to quote from the great last paragraph - even though I'm convinced it couldn't spoil anything. Instead I'll just give another example of the man's wit (although I think it may be from "Trouble is my business"): "I called him from a phone booth. The voice that answered was fat. It wheezed softly, like the voice of a man who had just won a pie-eating contest."

The Big Sleep's not just a great read; it's a great re-read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By KatieSorrel on 31 Dec. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Had to read this for Book Club and loved it in spite of the unselfconscious sexism and homophobia that marks it out as a novel from a different era. Perfect pace and crackling dialogue gave me several laugh out loud moments along with delight at the wit and sharp observation.

The Big Sleep is Raymond Chandler's first case for Los Angeles Private Investigator Philip Marlowe. For me, Marlowe develops in subtlety through the subsequent books, and becomes all the more interesting a character as a result, but in this his first outing, he still charms as a charismatic outsider whose idea of hell would be domestic bliss, and who loves nothing better than a drink, a smoke, an illicit clinch and a dose of hard boiled action to get the blood racing.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
First of all, I should say that I can't believe no one else has written a review of this wonderful crime novel. I'm happy to rectify this oversight now.
For me, Raymond Chandler's first novel, published in 1939, stands as not only one of the great crime novels of the 20th century, but one of the best genuinely American prose works in all of literature. Only an ignorant snob could argue that this isn't a piece of literature and a work of art as well as a highly entertaining story of detection. Philip Marlowe is Chandler's laconic private eye hero, an urban knight and man of honour operating in a grim world, a tough guy with a hard shell covering a man of culture and learning. Chandler writes both lines of dialogue and first person narrative to die for, combining a poet's use of metaphor with the hard-edged wit of the mean streets of Los Angeles, whose dark underbelly Chandler explores in his novels.
The plot of this mystery is legendary for its labyrinthine structure as Marlowe takes on a case for the wealthy General Sternwood, getting mixed up in murder, sex and a pornography racket.
I couldn't praise this masterpiece enough. Suffice to say that I consider it to be flawless.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chris on 22 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
Philip Marlowe is possibly one of the coolest characters ever created, hes the embodiment of that wonderful hard boiled detachment that you just dont come across done even remotely successfully elsewhere(Im looking at you Sam Spade). The big sleep is in my opinion the top crime novel, full of wonderful 30's language, incredibly diverse and complex characters and a plot so enthralling and nuanced ive had to go back several times to enjoy this book properly. However understandably a plot such as this might be for the Extremely casual reader a little bit confusing however please dont let that put you off because its so worth it.

To finish up there are a number of famous crime novels from this period and earlier again that have become quite influential in film and literature but if you want the big daddy of all our great modern hard boiled stories(Kiss kiss bang bang, payback etc) then look no further!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Oct. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Written in 1939, this is the first of the Philip Marlowe PI, cynical tough guy, novels. This is noir, beautifully written and realised, with everything you could possibly expect from this classic book. When we meet Marlowe he is on his way to the 'Sternwood Place' to meet four million dollars - neat, clean, shaved and sober, as befits visiting a millionaire. Gerneral Sternwood is paralysed in both his legs, a widower with two wayward daughters and a missing son in law. He is being blackmailed and wants Marlowe to help.

As far the plot goes, it is confusing and involved. There are guns, gangsters and girls, including Sternwood's two daughters, the spoiled and ruthless Vivian and the childish Carmen. Vivian has a string of broken marriages, her last to Rusty Regan rumoured to have ended with her husband skipping with Eddie Mars, a local hard man, wife. Both Carmen and Vivian seem to mix with the wrong people, but are they simply wild or dangerous? Along the way there is lots of action and wise cracks, as Marlowe battles his way to the truth. As so many characters have been based on Philip Marlowe, it is interesting to read the original and judge for yourself. This is the basis for a whole genre of writing and fascinating to read, as well as being an enjoyable story.
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