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The Long Goodbye

(Philip Marlowe #6)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  31,538 ratings  ·  2,031 reviews
Down-and-out drunk Terry Lennox has a problem: his millionaire wife is dead and he needs to get out of LA fast. So he turns to the only friend he can trust: private investigator Philip Marlowe. Marlowe is willing to help a man down on his luck, but later Lennox commits suicide in Mexico and things start to turn nasty. Marlowe is drawn into a sordid crowd of adulterers and ...more
Paperback, 379 pages
Published August 12th 1988 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 1953)
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  31,538 ratings  ·  2,031 reviews

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Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: One and All
To say goodbye is to die a little.

There are some books that just feel good to have on your dashboard, never too far from your fingertips to read in the tiny gaps between obligations and responsibility. The type of book that rides shotgun and keeps you company through the darker hours, through lonely nights at a shady laundromat or booze-soaked rainstorms on your porch. Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye is that sort of book, that sort of friend. The past few months have seen some bleak times an
Jul 10, 2014 rated it liked it
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
James Thane
This is the sixth and last of the full-length novels that Raymond Chandler wrote featuring his iconic detective, Philip Marlowe. It's also the most personal in that Chandler seems to have based two of the characters, Terry Lennox and Roger Wade, at least in part on himself.

At the book opens, Marlowe meets a man named Terry Lennox outside of a nightclub. Lennox is very drunk and his date drives off and leaves him. Marlowe, being a good samaritan, takes Lennox to his own home, sobers him up and th
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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 ...more
Henry Avila
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 Schwent
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
May 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, aere-perennius
“I was as hollow and empty as the spaces between stars.”
― Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye


Labels like genius and masterpiece get thrown around a lot in the arts. Certain writers are deemed to be brilliant and yet their stars fade quickly. Their notable books are soon forgotten, misplaced, unread and eventually pulped. Other writers seem to have the opposite trajectory. They are viewed as pulp or genre writers, but over time they seem to transcend the genre and even seem to dance on the graves
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.

Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bitchin
Tom was a quiet, reserved kind of guy. Which at the time was unusual within my circle of friends. Most everyone I knew back when I first returned to Sheffield was a lush, a druggie or just plain crazy. I made friends in pubs and clubs. My friends didn’t exist in the daytime. Except Tom. He was 24/7. Normal. I was in a bad way myself, although I couldn’t see it. Perhaps the company I kept gave me a false sense of my emotional and physical well-being. When J is getting the sack because he has been ...more
John Culuris
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is generally agreed that The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler’s penultimate novel, is his final masterpiece. A single reading easily affirms that. A rereading, which brings with it a foreknowledge of events and the ability to consider all its far-reaching elements collectively, creates a corollary to that longstanding assertion: yes it is a classic--but it should not have been. There are several structural flaws, though each can be quelled with the same irrefutable response. For example: the bo ...more
Jason Pettus
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
(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
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 his p
The Long Goodbye

"The Long Goodbye" is the sixth novel in Chandler's Philip Marlowe universe, written some years after Chandler's other Marlowe novels and at a time when Chandler was going through a rough patch. "The Long Goodbye" is a large departure in some measures from the other Marlowe novels and has a different feel and rhythm to it altogether. Gone is the frenetic pace, the snappy dialogue, the quick pulling it all together. There is a certain melancholy, a wistfulness, to this one. And, i
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
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Queer Eye for the Private Eye

"People have such queer ideas about private detectives."
Raymond Chandler, "The Long Good-Bye" (page 69)

Kiss Me Goodbye (An Ode to Philip Marlowe and Terry Lennox)
[Apologies to Martin Fry and Christopher Marlowe]

I never promised you eternity
I never meant to be unkind
All I gave, you returned to me
Now love's the last thing on your mind.

I never promised you a miracle
What you desired was a guarantee.
This song’s not meant to be satirical
Our love was just a carnal parody.

Carla Remy
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So I read this again after five years. I didn't remember much, I never do after one reading of Chandler. My reaction to it now is that it is extraordinarily long. It really takes its time and unpacks Marlowe's life, and it is a good book, but lengthy. I have a LOVE /HATE relationship with Chandler. I like this, the Big Sleep and the Lady in the Lake. But I really do not admire Farewell My Lovely or the Little Sister. And I have read all those twice. I've read the High Window only once, so I
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This knocked my socks off. I've read some of his others and they were good. This one is excellent.

Not only does it get the language and mores of a certain place and time, but doubles down on the core self-identities of at least 4 different people. Philip Marlowe being just one of the soul captured. Post-war and high detachment times in both moneyed and shoddy surroundings. But despite the unstudied language and the earthy emotional and visual overloads, the pure clean regard of man to man's "ess
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“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
Julie Christine
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
David Gustafson
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Outside of a 1940's Hollywood nightclub, a congenial drunk falls out of a Rolls Royce and his lady friend drives away leaving him on the pavement. Surprisingly, Raymond Chandler's alter ego, the cynical, private detective Philip Marlowe, picks the lad up and takes him to his home to sober him up.

Within the first few pages the window has been opened from the stifling, antiseptic culture of political correctness that is suffocating us today and the reader encounters a refreshing noir breeze from
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This time around Marlowe runs into a drunken writer, a wounded beauty and a lot of headaches. Narrated by Elliot Gould.

MY GRADE: B plus.
A powerful tale of bitterness and anger and pain, of Chandler putting his Marlowe on a suicide mission, a story of horrific collateral damage without redemption, and of the betrayal of unwise love. Wow. 😥

Honestly, this book (1953) says more about the 65 year-old Chandler than it does about Marlowe. The prose gets darker and darker, almost ranting at points, painful and despondent about modern life, particularly in L.A. His wife, 17 years his senior, was going through terrible health problems at
Nathan Alderman
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
I like Mystery novels that are literary. I know the term "literary" is broad and hazy but let's just say that literary is a special attention that is given to the language and to the characters, and this is in addition to the creation of suspense. One of the little pleasures of life is picking a book at an airport because you have four sleepless hours ahead of you and discovering soon after take-off that the book you thought would be easy fun is making you feel and think and pause to re-read tha ...more
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-mystery
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
Paul E. Morph
Apparently, Chandler regarded this as his best book and I can see why. It’s longer than his other Philip Marlowe novels and this gives the author space to look a little deeper into his characters.

Two of the characters, Terry Lennox (an alcoholic war veteran) and Roger Wade (an alcoholic author), are clearly proxies for Chandler himself. This, to me at least, makes this book the most personal of the series. He speaks through these characters, not only via their dialogue and actions but also by th
Oct 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I reread Chandler's private eye novel. Lots of nice touches are found in it. He even takes a few swipes at T.S. Eliot. Marlowe is now 42. He's as complicated as ever. If you like reading hardboiled private eye books, this one fits the bill.
This appears to be the longest of Chandler's Marlowe novels, and is reputed in the author's opinion to be his best work. For me, it certainly gave itself space for a complex web of stories, and some twists and turns.

As a fan of Marlowe / Chandler, this marks one book closer to the end, which makes me kind of sad, so while it took me far less time to read than his others (only two part days - but being home from work with a cold, and no distractions allowed me this), I savoured the reading of thi
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Goodreads Librari...: Missing Page Numbers 2 9 May 01, 2020 07:42PM  
Never too Late to...: 2020 March Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye 43 24 Mar 23, 2020 02:34AM  
Reading 1001: The Long Goodbye 2 9 Feb 02, 2019 12:32AM  
Goodreads Librari...: please update cover 2 13 Oct 23, 2018 03:42AM  
How much it worth if i wana sell first edtion dusjacket one? 2 26 Oct 29, 2014 04:54AM  

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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

Other books in the series

Philip Marlowe (8 books)
  • The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, #1)
  • Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2)
  • The High Window (Philip Marlowe, #3)
  • The Lady in the Lake (Philip Marlowe, #4)
  • The Little Sister (Philip Marlowe, #5)
  • Playback (Philip Marlowe, #7)
  • Poodle Springs (Philip Marlowe, #8)

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