Aug 18, 12
Read in August, 2012
Rereading Chandler's The Long Goodbye was interesting. I enjoy the meandering story, the unexpected twists and connections and micromysteries that link into Marlowe's friend Terry Lennox's disappearance and death. However, I was surprised by just how racist this book is sometimes. Chandler has always been "a product of his times," but the presence of racial tension and the amount of random racism on Marlowe's part seems to loom larger in this book. Of course, it should be said that more than once Marlowe messes up, assumes someone from Venezuela is Mexican and more than once his preconceptions about people steer him wrong in this book. So maybe the racial narrative here is more complex. It did make my white ass uncomfortable, regardless.
I'm glad I reread what is often regarded as one of Chandler's lesser novels. It is a weirdly constructed book, and the middle seems like a completely different book from the very long beginning, taking its time before it loops around to the original plot. Even so, nothing beats Marlowe's world-weary internal monologue or his cruel and witty and dialog. And no character in literature gets the crap beat out of him with as much panache as Philip Marlowe.