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Customer Review

63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the all-time classic American crime novels, 6 Feb. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Big Sleep: A Philip Marlowe Mystery (Penguin Fiction) (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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Jun 2008 21:54:20 BDT
Thanks for the brilliant review, I echo your thoughts completely. Its an amazing book that resonates with charm and style. Some of its neglect is probably due to snobbery as you mentioned. Not to read Chandler is miss out on delight.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Apr 2011 15:02:09 BDT
McRonson says:
Have to agree with both of you chap on this point. The Big Sleep is pure hardboiled poetry and Chandler's use of emotion totally separates him the likes of Hammet, Cain, McDonald, etc.

I always think of Marlowe as the young-ish Bob Mitchum when I re-read these books.
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