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The Big Sleep [Large Print] [Library Binding]

Raymond Chandler
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 2002
Los Angeles PI Philip Marlowe is working for the Sternwood family. Old man Sternwood, crippled and wheelchair-bound, is being given the squeeze by a blackmailer and he wants Marlowe to make the problem go away. But with Sternwood's two wild, devil-may-care daughters prowling LA's seedy backstreets, Marlowe's got his work cut out - and that's before he stumbles over the first corpse!
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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"His thin, claw-like hands were folded loosely on the rug, purple-nailed. A few locks of dry white hair clung to his scalp, like wild flowers fighting for life on a bare rock." Published in 1939, when Raymond Chandler was 50, this is the first of the Philip Marlowe novels. Its bursts of sex, violence, and explosively direct prose changed detective fiction forever. "She was trouble. She was tall and rangy and strong-looking. Her hair was black and wiry and parted in the middle. She had a good mouth and a good chin. There was a sulky droop to her lips and the lower lip was full." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

Chandler is not only the best writer of hardboiled PI stories, he's one of the 20th century's top scribes, period. His full canon of novels and short stories is reprinted in trade paper featuring uniform covers in Black Lizard's signature style. A handsome set for a reasonable price.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
By Chris
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An interesting read from a historical perspective for those who want to explore the origins of the detective 'film noire' genre, but a little dated for today's readers and lacking in depth when it comes to character development. Definitely worth a look, but it didn't leave me hungry for more. The price was right ($.99 for the Kindle version), but I remain puzzled why it is on at least one list for the greatest novels in the English language - probably more for it's influence than it's content. Also, the number of spelling mistakes/"misprints" in the version I had was mildly distracting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome hard boiled noir! Aug. 29 2013
By Ryan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this after watching the movie repeatedly. If you like the movie this book won't let you down. The characters are rich and the writing and dialogue has a thick layer of creamy noir grace and grit. The story goes beyond the movie in several places and is a nice introduction to Chandler's P.I. Marlowe. I highly recommend!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Sleep April 6 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Très bonne histoire policière! Je le recommande à tout ceux qui aime de genre de livre de le lire, et pour ceux qui ne sont pas capable de lire anglais, je crois qu'il y a une version française!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Pulp Fiction June 6 2008
Format:Paperback
This novel could certainly never be considered high art, but the writing is certainly stylish, and the characters have a real life mixture of strength and frailty that make them interesting sketches, all on their own.

Marlowe is the classic "hard boiled" detective. Tough and jaded enough to cut like a knife, but damaged enough by it for the reader to realize he's taken his knocks. Under it all, some human weakness, on the edge of no longer being contained by morality.

Highly recommended for an enjoyable read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Chandler's Unpolished Debut in Hardboiled Tradition March 16 2004
By jazzest
Format:Paperback
HEAVY SPOILERS INCLUDED
In his debut novel to introduce private eye Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler seems to have combined two different short story materials into one plot. The first case, which looks complicated on surface but turns out quite simple, is completely resolved within the first half of the novel. Then Marlowe starts getting himself involved in further search of missing Rusty Regan, partly because of curiosity and partly because of his occupational ethics. It develops into another fruitless adventure. At the abrupt ending, Marlowe intuitively discovers what has happened to Regan. From Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, Chandler inherits the tradition of hardboiled detective story, a femme fatale being the one who has done it, which would be inherited to Mickey Spillane's I, the Jury.
General Sternwood is blackmailed by Arthur Gwynn Geiger, who is a tenant of Eddie Mars, whose wife appears to have run away with Rusty Regan, who is a son-in-law of Sternwood. In a small circle everyone tries to take advantage of everyone else, while old General Sternwood is hopelessly dying; it is reminiscent of Shakespeare's King Lear.
While Chandler's already-established signature similes entertain readers (e.g. "... using his strength as carefully as an out-of-work show-girl uses her last good pair of stockings," "He had tight brilliant eyes that wanted to look hard, and looked as hard as oysters on the half shell," "The purring voice was now as false as an usherette's eyelashes and as slippery as a watermelon seed," and so on), the writing in general is raw, plain and dry, comparing to the more polished, sophisticated and sentimentalized one in his later works.
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Format:Paperback
Chandler is, bar none, the best writer of the so-called "hard boiled detective" genre, and this is his greatest work.
In a labyrinthine plot featuring corrupt, orchid-growing millionaires, beautiful blondes, gray men with guns and the cynical, deeply romantic narrator-protagonsit Marlowe, we see Los Angeles of the 1940s as Marlowe looks for the truth about murder, pornography and, ultimately, loss.
The sheer genius of Chandler's writing-- aside from the accompished plot twists-- is his deceptively simple language, which sparkles, and his narrator's deadpan wit. From the descriptions of women ("Inside was a blonde. A blonde! A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.") to the caustic remarks in the face of death ("She would either shoot me, or she wouldn't.") to his existential comments ("I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun"), Marlowe is as entertainign to lsiten to as he is to watch.
Chandler's achievement here goes beyond the action sequences, or the wit of his narrator, or the complexity of his plots. His narrator, the tough-as-nails Marlowe, appeals because he is profoundly romantic at heart, but doomed, like Hamlet, to be disappointed. Like Hamlet-- who writes a play to discover the origins of his misery-- Marlowe too is a storyteller, whose stories lead to one kind of understanding, where actions and sequences finally cohere. But Marlowe's dilemmas are Hamlet's, in that although he can tell the story, his sense of what it all means at the end is far from complete.
Chandler's stories are really about people who are lost. Marlowe's quest to find the body and re-tell the story-- although always successful-- is always undermined by his elliptical and understated awareness that, for all our ingenuity and striving, it all ultimately comes down, as it does for Hamlet and for all of us, to the big sleep.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Genre Defining Classic
The first book of Chandler's Philip Marlowe series is an especially interesting read for those who've seen the classic film with Bogey and Bacall. Read more
Published on May 27 2004 by "loopylou38"
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed.
Originally published in 1939, The Big Sleep is the first novel to feature fiction's legendary private eye, Philip Marlowe. Read more
Published on April 18 2004 by Michael G.
5.0 out of 5 stars Noir with capital N
In the world of noir literature Raymond Chandler is the undisputable king. With his novels starred by the private Detective Philip Marlowe he creates an unique world that set the... Read more
Published on March 10 2004 by A. T. A. Oliveira
1.0 out of 5 stars What is the point?
Review of the book The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
What was the point, January 14, 2004
Reviewer: Sleepy-head, from Nowhere
I know that the setting of this book... Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars father of noir
This is the place to start if you like noir writing. If you like Parker, MacDonald, Connelly, or Burke, this is the book will be for you. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2004 by "skidz75"
5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Amazingly, Unexpectedly Good Novel
Raymond Chandler's first novel, The Big Sleep, is the best mystery/crime novel I've ever read and even one of the best novels I've ever read. Read more
Published on July 22 2003 by Mollie Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars This is where it all began
Raymond Chandler's very first attempt at a detective novel was a clear winner. The Big Sleep features a complex plot and a fantastic character - Philip Marlowe. Read more
Published on July 13 2003 by Lisa Shea
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