Steve Miyamoto's Reviews > The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
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Aug 02, 07

it was amazing
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The greatest and archetypal noir detective thriller. The plot is secondary to his attempt at characterizing a man who is struggling to be in the world but not of the world.

The plot is famously confusing and it's almost irrelevant who the wrongdoers really are. Some critics have taken this as laziness or a lack of technical skill. While this is a story that fuses some of his previously used plots from his short stories, Chandler had previously laid out what he is attempting to do in his classic essay "The Simple Art of Murder." As he says in that essay, in anything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It took me 15 years before I understood what that meant.

The blatent misogyny and racism can't be overlooked, even though it was of it's time. Although I have heard one critic assert that it was a deliberate stylistic choice and that Chandler was more intelligent than hold those ideas personally. Still, the character of Marlowe plays tougher and talks tougher than he is on the inside as suggested by his actions. He does make the right choices in bad situations when it would be easier to compromise his ideals. As a character, Marlowe does seem to grow in the areas of his mysogyny and racism to varying degrees by Chandler's last great novel "The Long Goodbye."

Not a perfect book but perfect to read on the veranda with a mojito when the red winds are blowing hot from the north and the air is dry like the ashes of love. (to paraphrase Chandler badly.)
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message 1: by J. (new)

J. Did you know, although people praised Chandler for his sharp portrayal of Los Angeles, Chandler HATED Los Angeles.

Then there's Mike Davis, a post-Marxist critic who wrote City of Quartz, a book which some people dislike because he describes Los Angeles in a bleak light, but Davis professes to a proud Angeleno.


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