The Big Sleep

The Big SleepDown These Mean Streets A Man Must Go Who Is Not Himself Mean, Who Is Neither Tarnished Nor AfraidHe Is The Hero He Is Everything He Must Be A Complete Man And A Common Man And Yet An Unusual Man This Is The Code Of The Private Eye As Defined By Raymond Chandler In His Essay The Simple Act Of Murder Such A Man Was Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, An Educated, Heroic, Streetwise, Rugged Individualist And The Hero Of Chandler S First Novel, The Big Sleep This Work Established Chandler As The Master Of The Hard Boiled Detective Novel, And His Articulate And Literary Style Of Writing Won Him A Large Audience, Which Ranged From The Man In The Street To The Most Sophisticated Intellectual Marlowe Subsequently Appeared In A Series Of Extremely Popular Novels, Among Them The Lady In The Lake, The Long Goodbye, And Farewell, My Lovely Elizabeth Diefendorf, Editor, The New York Public Library S Books Of The Century, P Selected As One Of Time Magazine S All Time Novels, With The Following Review I Was Neat, Clean, Shaved And Sober, And I Didn T Care Who Knew It I Was Everything The Well Dressed Private Detective Ought To Be This Sentence, From The First Paragraph Of The Big Sleep, Marks The Last Time You Can Be Fully Confident That You Know What S Going On The First Novel By Raymond Chandler At The Age Of There s a story regarding the movie version of The Big Sleep that I love, and if it isn t true, it should be Supposedly, while working on adapting the book the screenwriters William Faulkner Leigh Brackett couldn t figure out who killed one of the characters So they called Raymond Chandler, and after thinking about it for a while, Chandler admitted that he d completely forgotten to identify the killer of this person in the book and had no idea who did it Since no one complained about the flaw in the book, the movie just repeated it and didn t bother answering the question either.And that s the thing about The Big Sleep The plot is overly complex, and it s pretty clear that Chandler was making it up as he went It s still a crime classic because Philip Marlowe books weren t about the plot, they were all about the character and the atmosphere.Marlowe is hired by wealthy and dying General Sternwood to see what he can do about illegal gambling debts that his daughter Carmen has incurred The general s other daughter was married to a bootlegger named Rusty Regan that has disappeared, and the old man was fond of Rusty and misses his company Everyone that Marlowe deals with assumes that he s been hired to find Rusty, and the detective is soon caught up in a web of blackmail and several murders.Chandler s first book is a classic and would help redefine and reinvent the mystery genre With Philip Marlowe, the prototype to the small time smart ass private detective with an unbreakable code of honor would be established and it s influenced countless fictional detectives since Chandler s no nonsense, razor sharp cynical prose is still a delight to read. She was the first thing I saw when I walked into the bookstore Such a looker I damn near tripped over a stack of calf high hardbacks set next to a stand of morning papers I m sorry, she said We re not quite open yet That s okay, I told her Neither are my eyes I could tell right away I wasn t going to win any hosannas by being a smart aleck I need a book, I continued by way of apology Something fun but dark I m looking at five hundred miles today, but I m not in the mood for an epic Noir, maybe It takes a lot of plot to get through Tennessee She went to the shelves and started looking at the books I was looking at her looking at the books I m pretty sure I had the better view Try this She handed me a trade paper nothing flashy Minimalist even But I recognized it, and the title went down like a good steak You ever read it before The Big Sleep Sure It s been twenty years, though I don t remember much Literary hair of the dog, she nodded It should suit you It s got a dead dirty books dealer, a nympho with a pistol, some scrape ups, and a lot of snap cracklin wit Maybe one or two too many jawbreakers, but there s no mush My guess You ll hit the FINIS before you make Cullman Something caught my eye Outside, three cruts piling out of a red pickup I thought about the night before, the money at the casino one interstate exit up, the deal that didn t go down so straight I looked at my scraped knuckles and licked the cut in my gums I hoped I made it to Cullman Hell, I hoped I could make it to a last page What about the sentences I asked What about them You start with the big letter and follow the rest to the dot at the end That s all you need to know about sentences, Jack I like mine short, but not stuttery Any joe who speaks one word ones is likely to get a smack upside the head from me By the same token, I don t go for gabber.s Long, windy ones give me an ache You know why Because long sentences are a tough chew when you re sporting a busted rib or two. She saw the cruts outside They hadn t spotted me, but I wasn t lucky enough to stay the invisible joe indefinitely You got a broken rib, do you She was watching the dufuses outside Not right now, but something tell me I will before I get to Chapter 2 An idea came to mind Hey, how about you give a dying man his wish and read me a paragraph or two of this Chandler guy She took the book back, not looking at it but looking at me, not a dab of fear in her eyes, but hard as a charcoal and twice as haughty For a second I wondered what it would cost me for her and the book both, but what with the ride I was headed for, I didn t need any baggage She opened the book and purred out the antepenultimate paragraph You know the one the one that explains the title The big sleep It had the kind of sentences a man could die for With my luck, I probably would You better ring me up, I said The cruts had spotted the bookstore and were headed for its door They knew me too well I ll pay cash, I told her Because neither of us has time for credit If you ever get back to town, swing by I stock noir like air I ll hook you up Sure If I make it back Maybe then I can swallow a longer paragraph I was on my way to head off the cruts when I nearly tripped again over the stack of hardbacks next to the morning papers You sell many of these I asked Not a one, she shrugged I looked at my name on the book jacket Figures, I shrugged back I set it back on the stack gently, because tossing it would ve been ungentlemanly and I stepped outside to meet my fate Damn if the little livro pusher didn t do me right The Big Sleep turned out pretty durable, especially for a trade paper Just ask the first crut who came at me He crumpled the second he took its spine upside the temple. It is always a pleasure to revisit a good book and find it even better than you remember But it is humbling to discover that what you once thought was its most obvious defect is instead one of its great strengths That was my recent experience with Raymond Chandler s The Big Sleep.I had read it twice before once twenty years, once forty years ago and have admired it ever since for its striking metaphors, vivid scenes, and tough dialogue Above all, I love it for its hero, Philip Marlowe, the closest thing to a shining knight in a tarnished, unchivalrous world.But even though I recalled Chandler s metaphors with pleasure, I also tended to disparage them as baroque and excessive Having read too many Chandler imitations and watched too many Chandler parodies, I had come to view his images as exotic, overripe things which could survive only in a hothouse corrupt things like the orchids the aged General Sternwood raises as an excuse for the heat.This time through, I refused to let individual metaphors distract me, but instead allowed the totality of the imagery including the detailed description of the settings do its work When I did so, I was not only pleased by the aptness of the descriptive passages but also surprised by the restraint of most of the metaphors True, there are a few outrageous similes, but they are always used deliberately, for humor or shock, and often refer to the General s daughter Carmen, who deserves everything she gets Overall, the sustained effect of the imagery is to evoke vividly and atmospherically the beauty and corruption of Los Angeles.But, first and foremost, the author s imagery is the narrator Marlowe s too as is also the case with Joseph Conrad s narrator Marlow and because of this it reveals to us the heart of Marlowe s personal darkness his place in the world, the person he wishes to be, and the profound distance between the two Chandler introduces us to Marlowe at the Sternwood s palatial mansion, a medieval gothic structure within sight of but mercifully upwind from the stinking detritus of Sternwood s first oil well, the foundation of the family fortune Over the hallway entrance, a stained glass window depicts a knight who is awkwardly Marlowe thinks unsuccessfully trying to free a captive maiden her nakedness concealed only by her long cascading hair from the ropes that bind her Marlowe s initial impulse He wants to climb up there and help He doesn t think the guy is really trying.Thus, from the first, the despoliation of L.A., the corruption of big money, and a vision of chivalric romance complicated by sexuality a vision which encompasses both the urgency and impotence of knight errantry reflect Philip Marlowe s character and concerns As the book proceeds, the ghost of Rusty Reagan, an embodiment of modern day romance Irish rebel soldier, rum runner, crack shot , becomes not only part of Marlowe s quest but also his double, another young man with a soldier s eye doing General Sternwood s bidding, lost in the polluted world of L.A At the climax of the novel, everything that can be resolved is resolved, as Marlowe, the ghost of Reagan and one of the Sternwoods meet amidst the stench of the family s abandoned oil well Afterwards, though, all Marlowe can think about is Eddie Mars wife, the captive maiden who cut off all of her once long hair to prove she didn t mind being confined Silver Wig Marlowe calls her , who rescued him from killers by cutting his ropes with a knife, but who is still so in love with her corrupt gambler husband that Marlowe cannot begin to save her. A killing reading PAINT IT BLACK A nice state of affairs when a man has to indulge his vices by proxy. That was the line that hook me when I watched the classic film adaptation, the one produced in 1946, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.While I loved the whole movie, that scene between Marlowe Bogart and the character of General Sternwood Charles Waldron at the glasshouse in the beginning of the story was what hooked me It s a wonderful dialogue, full of vices, smoking and drinking, and while I don t smoke and I seldom drink alcohol in parties, I am not prude and I think that type of characters look cool while smoking and drinking Maybe because I think new millenium society has become too sanctimonious about the topics I know that they aren t healthy conducts, but look at me, I like to watch characters doing both things and I don t do them on my own.Funny thing that if some character uses a gun and kills some other character, nobody is shocked, but if some character smokes, everybody gets scandalized about it I m told you are a widower and have two young daughters, both pretty, both wild. It was a delicious dialogue between the detective Marlowe and the General Sternwood Certainly when the bundle of stunning ladies, in those gorgeous 1940 s wardrobes and hairsyles, starting to fill the screen, the hook got me totally.I love Film Noir movies and I love detective novels, so reading Noir Detective novels is like something I should to begin many years ago.Obviously I have watched almost all the relevant Film Noir movies that they were inspired by the same iconic Noir novels, but even so, I want to read those original books, but also many others that they don t have film adaptation and or I haven t watched the movie version I am fan of movies and books, so I do like both formats and I have no preference of one over the other I enjoy both ways to know stories The Big Sleep is my favorite Film Noir movie of all, so I thought that it was the perfect choice to be the first fully Noir novel to read.And I enjoyed a lot since while I still love the movie, I enjoyed to read the differences on the book, to be able to appreciate a different approach to the basically same general story It s interesting that while the book is open to show polemic issues and quite impressive taking in account that the novel was published in 1939 but the book isn t that packed of sexy scenes with lovely ladies as it was the movie version.A key angle to read the novel is that, while in the movie the identity of the culprit I won t spoil it, don t worry is left in the air, on the book you will know quite clearly who did it And obviously that s the whole deal in a detective novel Still I love the movie version because is so much fun to watch it I have it on DVD, and you can bet that as soon as it would be available on Blu ray, I will order it at once BABY S IN BLACK So, you re a private detective I didn t know they really existed except in books. Philip Marlowe, the detective in this novel, along with the character of Sam Spade in its own book series are like the role models to the rest of Noir detectives that came after them Hat, raincoat, smocking, and a bit if not lots of cynical humor You don t want them to be something different She was worth a stare She was trouble. Femme Fatales Love them, but be careful, because they may be as lethal as gorgeous But you never be sure and that s part of the fun The Sternwood Sisters, Vivian and Carmen, certainly are great characters and impossible to predict what they will do next.Hard boiled Detectives and Femme Fatales do a dangerous dance during the whole deal of the stories where the outcome of those are as important as to know who did the murder.Noir Novels are hazardous beasts that have their own rules and they work in their own kind of universe where those rules have total sense, indeed the whole reason of why we love to read them The Big Sleep is a prime example of the genre and also definitely one of the most relevant titles there A smart story with punchy dialogues and one heck of narrative.

Raymond Thornton Chandler was an American novelist and screenwriter.In 1932, at age forty four, Raymond Chandler decided to become a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Depression His first short story, Blackmailers Don t Shoot , was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939 In

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  • Paperback
  • 231 pages
  • The Big Sleep
  • Raymond Chandler
  • English
  • 02 January 2017
  • 9780394758282

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