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The Long Goodbye (Philip Marlowe)

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  18,490 ratings  ·  1,077 reviews
Marlowe befriends a down on his luck war veteran with the scars to prove it. Then he finds out that Terry Lennox has a very wealthy nymphomaniac wife, who he's divorced and re-married and who ends up dead. and now Lennox is on the lam and the cops and a crazy gangster are after Marlowe.
Paperback, 379 pages
Published August 12th 1988 by Vintage (first published 1953)
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The Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell HammettThe Long Goodbye by Raymond ChandlerFarewell, My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerThe Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Best Hardboiled PI & Noir
3rd out of 487 books — 562 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee1984 by George OrwellThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Best Books of the 20th Century
419th out of 6,147 books — 41,369 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Apr 19, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not just hard boiled detective fans - anybody - give it a shot:)
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Edgar Award for Best Novel (1955)
Chandler’s known as the king of LA noir and word is this is his best. His writing is lean and clean, short staccato sentences with not a word wasted. Almost poetic in its brevity – not to be confused with lack of substance. Humour me, I’m trying it out on this review (view spoiler) Marlowe’s amazingly complex, a fast-talking P.I. surviving on tough cynicism. Deep down just a stand-up guy with a soft spot for underdogs. Got a moral core that e ...more
Henry Avila
Philip Marlowe, a cynical shamus, looks down at the parking lot of The Dancers Club, watching a drunk, be put into his car, a silver Rolls Royce, but the annoyed valet, has trouble, the left leg refuses to be moved inside, instead remains firmly on the ground. Where the rest of the intoxicated man, will soon be also. The pretty red- headed woman, sitting next to him, or was, in the automobile, is very angry, with good reason. Turns out she is Sylvia Lennox, ex- wife of this inebriated war vetera ...more
Dan 1.0
A down and out friend of Marlowe's flees to Mexico with Marlowe's help, his wife dead under suspicious circumstances. Marlowe's friend soon turns up dead, an apparent suicide. But what does his death, if anything, have to do with a drunk writer Marlowe finds himself watching?

I'm not really sure how I feel about the Long Goodbye. It's Chandler so the writing is great, with Chandler's trademark similes and hard-boiled atmosphere. On the other hand, it's written a little differently than his other
Philip Marlowe saves a drunken guy from being dumped in a ditch. He does it again another time. He does is yet again another time. And another. And another. Finally he gets into trouble for doing this: no good deed ever goes unpunished.

This book gives a very realistic gritty picture of US life in early fifties. It provides social commentary on the subject. It is considered by many critics to be the best Raymond Chandler novel, a classic of literature in general. It also happened to be unnecessar
People. They pass through your life, your mind, your heart, bundled in their own worlds with their wants and needs and feelings. And they'll tangle you up and drag you with and leave you with a lump in your throat and a weight in your gut. That's the best case scenario. Worst case scenario you end up broken, in jail, dead. Philip avoids the latter case with an insight into the human condition so instinctive and accurate it is frankly terrifying. Doesn't help him at all with the former though.

Anthony Vacca
When it comes to Raymond Chandler’s novels starring the smart-ass, misanthropic PI Phillip Marlowe, there’s The Long Goodbye and then there's everything else Chandler ever wrote—and it’s a long, lonely drive in-between. The Big Sleep, Farwell, My Lovely, and The Little Sister are all seminal works of the hard-boiled genre, too be sure; and on any other day of the week each is its own fuel-injected suicide machine; but in a bare-knuckled brawl, these books are packing wet noodles for arms when th ...more
Dammit, Raymond Chandler has style. He has finesse. His use of metaphor is so good that he is still an original, even after lesser noirists have copied or stolen from him outright for the past sixty years.

Yet for a hardboiled novel with the slickest of metaphors, Chandler is still a very sensitive writer. For a genre so easily stereotyped as gruff plastic machismo, this is an oddly meditative and melancholy book. You root for Marlowe, of course, but you admire his cases and his dedication, and h
I enjoyed the atmospherics and mood of this one, the last of Chandler’s detective stories featuring Philip Marlowe. This one is different in being more meditative and in having more of a focus on alienation among the wealthy residents of gated compounds. Chandler also restrains Marlowe’s use of colorful similes in his interior monologues, which became a cliché in many of his imitators. Compared to the earlier tales, Chandler is more judicious here in the playful, sardonic banter Marlowe uses for ...more
Sep 14, 2007 Terry rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Chandler wrote tighter, tougher books, but this one was his masterpiece. I'd been pulled into loving noir by Hammett & W. R. Burnett but they didn't write like Chandler. The Long Goodbye has all the best snappy dialog and constant menace, but it had something more. It was cynical poetry, it had the brittleness and immediacy of the "existential", as we used to call it.

It had a thoroughly adult, disillusioned worldview but it also had a hero who refused to renounce his principles, even when h
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

So are you familiar already with the "One Book One Chicago" (OBOC) program? We're not the first city to do it (in fact, we stole the idea from Seattle), but are definitely now the largest city in America to do so; basically, roughly three or four times a year the Mayor's Office and the public library
Slightly spoiled by having fallen for Elliot Gould in Leigh Brackett's adaptation, The Long Goodbye is still an overwhelmingly impressive piece of dark literature. When people talk about Chandler's influence on crime fiction it's always in reference to his hardboiled dialogue, his similes and metaphors but in reading this final entry in the Marlowe series you can draw a long powerful line from Chandler through Crumley, Sallis and Block, to name only three, writers who have taken the mantle of wr ...more
“Time makes everything mean and shabby and wrinkled. The tragedy of life … is not that the beautiful things die young, but that they grow old and mean.”

Marlowe befriends a down-on-his-luck war hero roaming the streets of California. A few months after Marlowe cleans him up and sets him on his way, the man is standing on Marlowe’s doorstep, holding a gun and asking for a ride to Mexico. While Marlowe refuses to hear out the reason for this request, it’s revealed that the man’s wife has been murde
Nathan Alderman
Jul 25, 2007 Nathan Alderman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of pulp detective novels
Chandler's unabashed masterpiece, this novel is his only work to truly transcend the pulp genre and rank as first-rate literature. All of Chandler's books have gorgeous language and bafflingly labyrinthine plots, but this one stands out because of the author's poignant willingness to stare into his own soul. His stalwart, incorruptible hero Marlowe is hired to guard a washed-up, alcoholic, self-loathing writer who derides his own work as trash, and it's hard not to see the troubled Raymond Chand ...more
What follows, of course, is just my (generally worthless) opinion. As genre (the crime/detective novel), High Window is Chandler's peak. It's a perfect specimen. His next book, Little Sister, though good, ran into trouble (see my review). It was somewhat deeper, more ambitious, a little literary..., but Chandler didn't know how to get an increasingly bitter, frightened, alcoholic 62 year-old author, with great craft-skills, to continue to write a 38 year-old, hardboiled character. It was a crisi ...more
The first time I laid eyes on Terry Lennox he was drunk in a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith outside the terrace of The Dancers.

I’m adding this to my list of favorite opening lines. Twenty-three words that set up a story with precision and punch. This sentence is why I decided to read my first Raymond Chandler.

Chandler’s crime noir characters and images are iconic: Philip Marlowe, the embittered, enigmatic private eye; the long-limbed blonde, elegant, cunning and in need of rescue; the corrupt and bru
...And now I'm fresh out of Chandler.

Everyone's been telling me that The Long Goodbye is the best. I think they're right. Several people told me I should read it first. I think they're wrong. I think it's best when you know and love Philip Marlowe, and you know and love Chandler's writing, and he can come along and punch you in the gut and bowl you over all over again. Or shoot you in the head.

I loved this one the best. I loved Terry Lennox and I loved Marlowe for helping him and I kind of follo
I could not set this book down.

One of the many gems of dialogue:

"Alcohol is like love," he said. "The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl's clothes off."
"Is that bad?" I asked him.
"It's excitement of a high order, but it's an impure emotion-- impure in the aesthetic sense. I'm not sneering at sex. It's necessary and it doesn't have to be ugly. But it always has to be managed. Making it glamorous is a billion-dollar industry and it costs
“L’alcool è come l’amore. Il primo bacio è magico, il secondo intimo, il terzo un’abitudine. E poi si spoglia la donna”
C’è tutto quello che deve esserci in un romanzo del genere. Come principale protagonista c’è l’alcool, motore e spinta propulsiva della storia, che scorre a fiumi nelle case eleganti dei quartieri più esclusivi e nei bar silenziosi di Los Angeles; ci sono i bulli dal grilletto facile, grandi criminali tenutari di case da gioco in Nevada, messicani dal sangue caliente e con la vi
I can't say enough good things about Raymond Chandler. He took one of the lowest, scummiest, quick cash-in forms of writing, the private eye novel, and turned it into legitimate literature. Every paragraph boils over with some kind of allusion, metaphor, or analogy that you'd never imagine in your life, yet afterwards you don't know how you looked at the world in any other way. His cynicism is note-perfect- bitter and sad, but with plenty of humor and just the slightest hint of hope for human de ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Private investigator Philip Marlowe is 42 years old and does not exercise. His sport is chess yet he does not play against anybody. He just replays games of chess masters and solves chess puzzles. His brushes with danger and death he just narrates matter-of-factly. In one scene a rich, powerful, mean-spirited guy comes to his office. After some tough guy dialogue Marlowe slugs the visitor which made the latter double up in pain while his bodyguard--certainly armed--is just outside. When Marlowe ...more
Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye is different to all his other Philip Marlowe books; it’s twice as long, semi autobiographical and it’s a platform for social criticism. While people say this book was never on the same level as The Big Sleep or Farewell, My Lovely, Chandler (and other critics) considers it his best work even though he was going through a lot of agony writing it with his wife was terminally ill and the alcoholism he was suffering.

In the book Marlowe forges an unhealthy friends
At first The Long Goodbye seemed like a far more complex book than The Big Sleep because the character of Marlowe, heartless and invincible and infallible in the latter, in the former is fleshed out with various forms of weakness (subjectively defined). These include a tendency towards the romantic, bravado and braggadocio, insatiable curiosity (the bane of many existences, not least the young elephant's), and an inability to let well alone. A sharp contrast is drawn between his masterful and kn ...more
Raymond Chandler is the great Southern California poet of depair. The Long Goodbye is very much a sad look at relationships and how that affects one's psyche. I always felt Chandler is one of the great genius' of the sentence. You can tell how much he cares for the structure of his works - even when he sort of loses it at times. But it's part of the great car ride and he's the driver of course.
Patrick O'Neil
The Long Goodbye is Raymond Chandler at his best. Beautifully bleak, blatantly noir, a sense of impermanence, with an underlining need to create justice is an unjust society. Chandler's not so subtle exposé of class and social status compose the backdrop for his twisted tale of love and revenge. He creates loser underdogs as heroes, and then turns then into villains, or leaves them where they are to stay. His uber rich are above the law, but not above fear, self-hatred, deceit, and revenge. Ther ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 28, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Just reread this and need to update my old review below...

I read all the Chandler books so long ago that frankly I don't really remember them that well. I just remember loving them! So I'm giving them all five stars even though I know I didn't like them all equally nor were they all worthy of five stars. If I can recall correctly The Long Goodbye was my favorite. For me Chandler was all about his style. The only thing I remember about the plots is that there was, you know, a murder,
O Imenso Adeus
Gosto deste título.
Gosto de Philip Marlowe e da sua linguagem divertida e provocadora, principalmente quando está vulnerável.
Gosto da escrita. Correcta e despretensiosa.
Não gosto muito do enredo: detectives, mulheres fatais, crimes passionais… prefiro policiais com psicopatas que fazem as vitimas em “tiras”…
Não me surpreendeu. Até o final foi exactamente como eu esperava. Provavelmente li o livro quando era “criança” e esqueci-me…

Mas, retirando o enredo clássico e colocando o bom d
Doug Bradshaw
I compared this book to "Twilight" sort of half joking and yet let me tell you why I think there are some parallels:

Twilight was written for a particular audience of young women and sometime older women who fall for this kind of yearning love of a beautiful and misunderstood half human creature. There is something compelling and romantic about it, even sexual even though there's no sex.

The Long Goodbye may appeal to certain people, probably mostly men who also love comic books, because Marlowe
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I grew up in southern California and I love reading Raymond Chandler if for no other reason than he takes me back to the California of my childhood. It is the California with familiar neighborhoods, and street names, a California not yet completely paved over, a California where the air was occasionally clean and clear. It is a California that is no more.

Pronzini and Adrian in their Hard-Boiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories say of The Long Goodbye "arguably the first book since Hammet
Daniel McCaffrey
May 18, 2008 Daniel McCaffrey rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mystery & Crime Readers
Recommended to Daniel by: Bill Reight
A phenomenal piece of writing, a veritable tour-de-force of Crime. This is something that no one has the guts to do, usually in genre fiction: Write the definitive, last story of a popular, iconic character and live with the results. I won't spoil anything for newbies, but let's just say that Chandler both advanced the age and status of his alter-ego, Philip Marlowe - and also radically matured the entire Crime genre in general and Detective Fiction in particular with this stunning, poignant and ...more
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How much it worth if i wana sell first edtion dusjacket one? 2 22 Oct 28, 2014 09:54PM  
Read before other Marlowe books? 11 141 Jun 16, 2014 01:45PM  
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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
More about Raymond Chandler...

Other Books in the Series

Philip Marlowe (7 books)
  • The Big Sleep
  • Farewell, My Lovely
  • The High Window
  • The Lady in the Lake
  • The Little Sister
  • Playback
The Big Sleep Farewell, My Lovely The Lady in the Lake Trouble is My Business The High Window

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“There is no trap so deadly as the trap you set for yourself.” 1903 likes
“To say goodbye is to die a little.” 956 likes
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