5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Sleep
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!
Published 2 months ago by Anne-Marie
3.0 out of 5 stars Overrated
I was raised to believe Chandler was just this brilliant writer ... & he was ... but perhaps it's become a knee-jerk, unquestioning thing to say how brilliant he was ... because revisiting "The Big Sleep" after lately reading Jim Thompson I was disappointed: the book doesn't win in a comparison with, say, "The Killer Inside Me." Chandler has these...
Published on Jun 4 2001 by James G. Greenhill
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Sleep,
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This review is from: The Big Sleep (Paperback)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!
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Pulp Fiction,
This review is from: The Big Sleep (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.
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect writing, massive wit, and philosophical, too!,
This review is from: The Big Sleep (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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Genre Defining Classic,
This review is from: The Big Sleep (Paperback)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. The film is actually a fairly faithful adaptation of the book, with all references to pornography removed. This is odd, because the story is about blackmail and pornography. Cinemaphiles will read the book and at key points think "oh, that's what it was about."
Be warned: when you start reading Chandler, you're going to read two or three in a row.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed.,
This review is from: The Big Sleep (Paperback)Originally published in 1939, The Big Sleep is the first novel to feature fiction's legendary private eye, Philip Marlowe. The book starts off with Marlowe visiting the majestic estate of dying millionaire, General Guy Sternwood. As the General hires Marlowe to investigate a bookdealer who is extorting him for one thousand dollars, he happens to mention that he sorely misses the company of his son-in-law, an ex-bootlegger, who has inexplicably disappeared. A very fast paced and eventful search for the truth ensues, during which Marlowe encounters many colorful characters. Topping the list are the two wild Sternwood daughters, Carmen and Vivian.
The Big Sleep contains subject matter considered racy by 1939 standards. Specifically, pornography and homosexuality both play key roles in advancing the story. Chandler's writing is no less than masterful. The dialogue snaps, the descriptive passages are vivid and the complex plot comes together at the end.
There are really two main characters, Marlowe himself and the city of Los Angeles. Marlowe is a loner and if he is not an alcoholic, he could easily be mistaken for one. Always ready with withering put downs, he is a world class cynic who paradoxically adheres to a high minded code of honor. Los Angeles is portrayed as a dreary place, often rain soaked and in the throes of serious growing pains. The claustraphobic, shattered lives of many of its inhabitants made all the more grotesque by the coexisting wealth and glamor.
The Big Sleep has earned its reputation as an American classic and definitely qualifies as a must read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Noir with capital N,
This review is from: The Big Sleep (Paperback)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 patter for the novels -- and later the movies --called noir.
Written in 1939, 'The Big Sleep' is his first novel featuring Marlowe. And it was so successful that became a franchise, but what's more important, it influenced almost every single writer who tackled detective fiction. The plot is not the most important thing in this novel. It is complicated and confusing, so leaving it aside, one can enjoy all the undertones that are part of Chandler's work.
More than a single genre, Noir is a way of life --for a writer, at least. Everything matters in the book, that's why the narrative is so full of a vivid description of places and women mostly. It is hard to follow who is blackmailing who and why. But it is a joy to read the description of a cigarette being lit by a woman, or the way the smoke dissolves. These descriptions are what make the prose so full of texture and brilliant. Not to mention the Californian glamour that surrounds every single page of the book. Those rich people know how to live end have pleasure.
Marlowe is one of the best --if not THE best-- detective created in the literature. Before him, they used to be a little boring and too nice. Marlowe is violent, visceral and he is not worried of being nice and gentle. In his trip into the darker side of the underworld he comes across every kind of criminal --which, by the way, are so alive that one starts wondering how Chandler knew so much.
All in all, Chandler is one of the most important writers of detective thrillers ever, and influenced hundreds of other authors --in positive and negative ways --, but in case of doubt stick to the original.
5.0 out of 5 stars father of noir,
This review is from: The Big Sleep (Paperback)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. Warning that it is a little hard to read, and may take awhile to get into it. The story will confuse and befuddle, but it is ultimately rewarding. The great thing about it is not only do you enjoy reading a great story, but you get a glimpse into a Los Angles of the past and a different cultural era. The darkside of the glamour city. Must read and the place to start for a study of noir mystery.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Amazingly, Unexpectedly Good Novel,
This review is from: The Big Sleep (Paperback)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. This story of Private Eye Philip Marlowe kept me awake and alert with its colorful descriptions and brilliant plot.
For me, this book was important not only because of the plot, but also because of the setting. By learning more about 1939, I was able to reflect on today and look at current events with a better perspective. I feel that I now understand current times better because I know what "it used to be" like.
I recommend this book not only to mystery lovers, but also to anyone who wants to read a good, well-written book. If you've not read a good book in a while and would like to, this book is for you.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is where it all began,
This review is from: The Big Sleep (Paperback)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.
Chandler set his story in the gritty streets of Los Angeles, with a detective who was known for doing the right thing rather than what he was told to do. Philip Marlowe became an instant icon not only amongst mystery and detective fans, but among readers everywhere. When this became a movie in 1945 with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, even though the movie cut out a lot of the plot complexities, the characters affected the lives of millions.
Chandler's writing style is simply phenomonal. He describes the ins and outs of the city and its suburbs, giving you vivid impressions of that world. He moves from lush mansions to dingy bars, with each character having strong motivations, backgrounds, reasons for being.
In a time when minorities were discounted as meaningless and women were considered the "lesser sex", Marlowe plows right in with a fair eye for all. He takes on work with blacks that others disdain. He treats women as being intelligent while others discount them. The stories talk about homosexuality and porn and other topics as a "part of life". It's interesting how much of the books had to be 'white washed' to be made into movies.
If you read this story and then read many of today's detective stories, you can see clear traces of what Chandler began in the works of others. His style, his incredible humor, his honor and justice. His desire to do what was right even when others around him pushed him to do the "easy thing". A Big Sleep is a must read for any mystery fan, to see where it all began.
5.0 out of 5 stars The American crime novel stem cell.,
This review is from: The Big Sleep (Paperback)Yup. Any modern American crime novel worth it's salt can trace it's genetic lineage back to this book.
To be initiated into the world of Raymond Chandler without formal introduction was an exhilarating experience. Yes, it's hard to not use the term "hard-boiled", as his work is often simplistically described, but it was so much more than that. Oh so much more. Or is it that most other hard-boiled writers offer so much less...?
First of all, I laughed. A lot. Do you know how difficult it is to write comedy? To write something that causes someone to laugh out loud? The dialogue here is to die for. To. Die. For.
I agree with others who compare Chandler's Los Angeles to Dickens' London. After reading those authors, it becomes second nature to imagine life there. You can see what exists beyond the page. Another exceedingly difficult feat to perform, but Chandler here makes it look effortless.
Most important, we see the creation of a character as indelible as Holmes in Phillip Marlowe. Chandler was lucky to have had Bogart play him in the film; it's a perfect match. You see his face, deliver these lines with that voice, while you're reading this book. It's crime novel nirvana.
With his first novel, Chandler vaulted into the pantheon of great crime novelists. I think time has proven he's also a great American novelist.
His other six novels sit on my shelf, beckoning me as I type this...I gotta go now...
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The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Paperback - July 12 1988)
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