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4.3 out of 5 stars72
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-4 of 4 reviews(3 star).Show all reviews
on April 1, 1999
I'm not into detective stories, and I had never read Chandler before this; neither have I seen the movie. So, I guess my opinion could be seen as quite objective. Did I like it? Why not - it had a certain sense of style, a certain fascination, present in every comment by every character. As it comes to dialogue, Chandler is a master. That's easy to admit.
That much for the good sides; there were weak points too. Most of all Chandler's descriptions seemed to me somewhat pretentious and heavy. Maybe that's just time doing its tricks on us mortals. Also, the plot could've been more gripping. When I compare The Big Sleep to James Ellroy's great modern detective novels, also set in the old L.A., I must say that Ellroy's incredibly sophisticated plots always make me stay away till late night. The same can't be said of this book. But I'm pretty satisfied anyway, it is very rare that 'a classic' turns out to be even this good.
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on June 3, 2001
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 moments of brilliance (especially the clever phrases that rightly won him immortality in dictionaries of quotations) but he's not all that. Sure, the atmosphere is wonderful & Marlowe is a great character ... but the plot's confusing & tiresome & I'm not impressed by hearing that's because he wanted to achieve a certain impression. It's not worth it. Certainly Chandler was a trailblazer, but he's become an icon, famous for being famous, a literary Liz Taylor. It's time to reassess the unbridled praise.
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on January 1, 2001
Long on atmosphere and equally long on confusion. At his best Chandler is great, but the Big Sleep owes its fame more to the Humphrey Bogart movie than the writing. The book was cobbled together from several short stories, and once you know this it is fairly obvious--the books cuts from scene to scene and it is hard pressed to make a connection between them. While some consider this a sign of a daring new lack of convention and or a mirror of the confusion of modern society, in truth it is really more a case of laziness. Nonetheless the book has classic scenes and gives us Marlowe, which alone makes it worthy of reading. And that Noir atmosphere is delicious.
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on January 2, 2014
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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