Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Big Sleep (by Raymond Chandler)

I was looking forward to reading this; it’s always nice to get a chance to read a detective novel as part of the reading project, and here was my chance to find out what Philip Marlowe was all about. I’ve never seen the Bogey-and-Bacall movie, so I had no ideas or expectations.

I thought the book was boring, though, and a little confusing. I didn’t understand anyone’s motives all that clearly, least of all Marlowe’s. I thought some of his metaphors (those famous noir metaphors) were stretched pretty thin. It wasn’t that suspenseful or exciting because I didn’t actually care about anyone. It had its moments, but overall, it seemed more “important” than actually good. I far preferred The Maltese Falcon.

[Edited to add that I just went looking around the Amazon reviews, and the consensus is that his later books are much better. There are a lot of four-star reviews glowing about Chandler but then admitting that his plot makes no sense. So, yay! Not just me.]


Blogger Beth said...

I loved this book when I read it in college, but the movie is a lot better. (Faulkner did the screenplay adaptation! But it's really all about Lauren Bacall.)

And the confusion is definitely not you ... I'm pretty sure this is the one where, when someone asked Chandler about a particularly confusing plot point, he thought about it and admitted that he had no idea. (I think it is the question of who killed the chauffeur.)

8:26 AM  
Blogger mo pie said...

I was reading about the movie and I was like "they can't mean THAT Faulkner." Then I realized they were! Total worlds colliding in my head.

Also, I think it was cobbled together from a number of short stories, so the fact that the main mystery is basically solved a third of the way through the book is also understandable.

Fortunately, I don't care who killed the chauffer.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I just remembered that the last time I saw this movie was with your fiance. More worlds colliding!

(In the interest of full disclosure, I think I fell asleep after ten minutes and he and Jeremy watched it without me. But I am sure I woke up for the Bogey and Bacall scenes.)

4:26 PM  

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