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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome hard boiled noir!
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!
Published 7 months ago by Ryan

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3.0 out of 5 stars Worth the time if you're planning to watch the movie
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...
Published 3 months ago by Chris


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3.0 out of 5 stars Worth the time if you're planning to watch the movie, Jan. 2 2014
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This review is from: The Big Sleep (Kindle Edition)
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 (Kirkland Lake, ON, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Big Sleep (Kindle Edition)
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
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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!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Pulp Fiction, June 6 2008
By 
Craig Jenkins (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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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.
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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 (Chiba City, Japan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Big Sleep (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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5.0 out of 5 stars perfect writing, massive wit, and philosophical, too!, June 13 2004
By 
Chris Stolz (canada) - See all my reviews
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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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genre Defining Classic, May 27 2004
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed., April 18 2004
By 
Michael G. "mikefromrochester" (Rochester, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Noir with capital N, March 10 2004
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars father of noir, Jan. 12 2004
By 
"skidz75" (yellow springs, ohio United States) - See all my reviews
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.
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The Big Sleep
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Paperback - July 12 1988)
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