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Playback (Philip Marlowe Series Book 7) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Raymond Chandler was one of the literary giants of the twentieth century. 'The Big Sleep' was perhaps his masterpiece, and all the others are also brilliant. 'Playback', was originally written for Universal as a screenplay. He adapted it into novel form purely because he needed the money. But it is still a good read. It is largely devoid of his usual literary flourishes and we don't get much of a feeling for Marlowe from it. It is half the length of his better works and there is very little of the vivid description and brilliant dialogue that characterize his other work. But it has his usual themes of class and corruption set in an ostensibly dignified Californian community - here it is La Jolla in San Diego which he calls Esmerelda in 'Playback'. Four stars for a weak novel written by one of the literary greats.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had to endure every twist and turn and it was worth it. I shall have read more of this character.Published 12 months ago by ConorBarry
I thought I had read all the Philip Marlowe books long ago, including the short stories. Not so because there is Playback published in 1958 five years after The Long Goodbye. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Bob from Beds
So enjoyed this read, Problem read again in the next 5 yearsPublished 19 months ago by Karen Schofield
The weakest of the Marlowe books and, once you know Chandler took an abandoned movie script for the plot of this, it shows. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Mr. C. Fitzgerald
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... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Jules
Philip Marlowe makes me laugh out loud. I love all the books.Published on 24 July 2014 by simon hill