The Big Sleep (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Library Binding – 26 Jun 2008
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"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
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
" 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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As I read this I felt the tempo of the great Hollywood movies, the swanky guys, sultry females. The words throb with the sound and feel of those great times in a way I've never... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jane Baker
The best Chandler book (in my opinion). I loved it. A very different experience from the film as they changed a lot of little things.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book features probably the most famous American fictional detective, Philip Marlowe. The story is quite tightly plotted and there are some good set piece scenes, but I can't... Read morePublished 3 months ago by John Hopper
This dark and yet highly satirical crime detective novel was a slow burner. Once you get used to Chandler’s blunt style and snappy wit, displayed excellently through Phillip... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tim Pitcher
I can't say I'm a huge crime fan, but this is clearly an example of how good the genre can be. In a lot of crime, there's a thin narrative stretched over 500 pages, whereas The Big... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ross Sayers