- Library Binding: 240 pages
- Publisher: Center Point Pub; Large type edition edition (March 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 158547164X
- ISBN-13: 978-1585471645
- Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
- Shipping Weight: 454 g
- Average Customer Review: 76 customer reviews
The Big Sleep Library Binding – Large Print, Mar 2002
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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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A bit too far fetched for my taste. Different era...Read more