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The Big Sleep (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Library Binding – 26 Jun 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Library Binding
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439507309
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439507308
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,115,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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

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

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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By A Customer on 25 May 2004
Format: Paperback
I read The Big Sleep because I wanted to finally read one of the classics in the crime genre. I couldn't have picked a better book. The plot is interesting, and the style of writing is very descriptive and easy to read. I thought the style (such as referring to some of the women as 'dames' etc.) would be a bit jarring and dated, but instead it turned out to fit perfectly with the character Phillip Marlowe.
That isn't to say the book isn't dated, but that is part of what makes it so enjoyable. The emphasis in many crime novels these days is on forensic evidence and psychological profiling, but the absence of these elements makes for a refreshing change. At first I was yelling "No, you're ruining the trace evidence" (yelling in my head, obviously, as it would have caused a few odd looks if I'd actually yelled loud in the Tube), but after a while you get used to it and just go with the story.
I can recommend this book to anybody who enjoys modern crime novels, but I'm sure others will enjoy it just as much. I only wish it had lasted a bit longer, I finished it within a couple of days even though I had to work in between bits of reading.
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