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The long good-bye Unknown Binding – 1966

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (1966)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007J08BU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,996,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As the last novel about the immortal PI Philip Marlowe, "The Long Good-bye" has a lot to live up to. It delivers superbly. The story, a complex web of high society scandal and dark secrets which leads to murder and suicide, is confidently handled and plotted to perfection. Marlowe begins by helping a young drunk out of a car but events soon begin to spiral out of control. As the novel progresses, Marlowe tries to act decently in a world that refuses to play fair. However, what raises this, and most of Chandler's work, above the pulp thriller genre, is the concise and relaxed brilliance of the style and the central character.
Reading the novel is a joy: a sardonic smile or bitter laugh a constant companion. Every sentence is steeped in cool and dark humour; every page contains a witty aphorism or observation. The descriptions are economical and precise, but spiced with a spin of disappointed intelligence: more often than not Marlowe describes something as "not" like something else. This clever use of negative simile reflects the tone of the novel: dark and uncompromising about society with a pitch black sense of humour. One interesting fact is that Chandler's observations about society, and particularly American society, are as devastatingly accurate as ever. The message is clear: corruption, whether personal, social or political, is timeless.
The character of Marlowe is similarly timeless: his dry wit and bruised idealism still sympathetic and engaging. He has lost none of his appeal despite being reimagined and reivented so many times by so many writers in the last fifty years. Marlowe remains the most important and impressive protagonist in noir, and in "The Long Good-bye" Chandler confirms that he doesn't just easily attain the accolade of king of noir, he also makes a strong case to be considered among the greats of mid 20th century American literature.
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Format: Paperback
Having picked up by chance, and really enjoyed "The Big Sleep" I subsequently bought "The Last Goodbye" - and suffice to say it absolutely blew me away. Make absolutely no mistake about it, this is a superb book.
It is as dense and complex as other comments on this page suggest. This was absolutely without question Chandlers finest hour - Marlowe was never more bitter, caustic and cynical than in this book, and Chandler finally reached his peak with his most brutal writing, which was as sparse and unadorned as you could possible wish for. He'd saved every plot twist and every scathing, bitter Marlowe put down for this, and the end result, which stinks of cigarette smoke and whiskey, is glorious.
Frankly, this is the absolute epitome of "Noir" - ice cool, dangerous and moody, and Marlowe is the finest 'anti-hero' around.
Every American crime writer to this day is still left flapping in comparison.
Buy without hesitation!
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Format: Paperback
I can't tell you how much I love Chandler's poetic, vivid 1940s LA, and his magnificent creation, PI Philip Marlowe, through whose eyes you see that world. I return to Chandler whenever I've just thrown some Booker-nominated piece of rubbish across the room, and need to remind myself what proper writing is. I namecheck him wherever I go but don't seem to sign up too many new recruits. I can't understand why, but I've long since given up wondering, and just go into the kitchen and make myself a drink instead and channel chess-playing, bitter, handsome wreck, Marlowe, the "shop-soiled Galahad" (isn't that perfect?).

Like Dashiell Hammett, Chandler honed his considerable detective novel skills in pulp fiction (he also had a very interesting life prior to that), but neither are throwaway paperback writers. He's also no Hammett. Where Hammett is taking influences from Japan and the taut, terse world of the Samurai, writing exercises in brevity and control, Chandler is somewhere more fluid and lyrical, writing with humour and a style that removes his fiction to an altogether higher plane than your average high street detective. His plots are famously contorted and his one-liners legendary.

Philip Marlowe is a knight errant; he's brave and takes a punch, he makes mistakes and gets back up to finish the job. He's smart and clever - sometimes too smart for his own good. He's lonely but he doesn't make a move to change that. He's a just-good enough man - good enough to have friends where they matter; good enough to deserve to bust open the problem before him and solve it, whatever happens.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This isn't Chandler/Marlowe's swansong (see 'Playback') but it is certainly the most mature of the series. It is a first-class crime thriller but it also genuinely aspires to novel status.

Chandler comments on social issues such as class, moral decline, the changing role of the police, politics and organised crime. Yet the book is essentially about more human issues such as trust and the nature of friendship and love. Marlowe's commitment to his friendship with Terry Lennox is like a moral beacon shining even brighter in the face of Menenedez's cheap denigration of him as 'Tarzan on a big red scooter'. This contrasts with Marlowe's ongoing failure to secure true love,'..in six months time, you won't know my name' is the cold assessment by the latest love interest. He knows it, she knows it.

The structure is typical Chandler with two big, apparently unrelated, stories and with Madison's portrait as a metaphor for temptation, greed and moral ambiguity in post-war America.

The ending was superbly handled and I was moved by this novel - not something one expects to say about an ostensible detective story.
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