The Big Sleep and Other Novels, Paperback
4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Raymond Chandler was America's preeminent writer of detective fiction, and this "Penguin Modern Classics" edition of "The Big Sleep and Other Novels" collects three of the best novels to feature his hard-drinking, philosophising PI, Philip Marlowe.

Raymond Chandler created the fast talking, trouble seeking Californian private eye Philip Marlowe for his first great novel "The Big Sleep" in 1939.

Often imitated but never bettered, it is in Marlowe's long shadow that every fictional detective must stand - and under the influence of Raymond Chandler's addictive prose that every crime author must write.

Marlowe's entanglement with the Sternwood family - and an attendant cast of colourful underworld figures - is the background to a story reflecting all the tarnished glitter of the great American Dream.

The hard-boiled detective's iconic image burns just as brightly in "Farewell My Lovely", on the trail of a missing nightclub crooner. And the inimitable Marlowe is able to prove that trouble really is his business in Raymond Chandler's brilliant epitaph, "The Long Goodbye".

Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) was born in Chicago. It was during the Depression era that he seriously turned his hand to writing and his first published story appeared in the pulp magazine "Black Mask" in 1933, followed six years later by his first novel, "The Big Sleep", adapted into Howard Hawks' classic 1946 film noir, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

If you liked "The Big Sleep and Other Novels", you might enjoy Dashiell Hammett's "The Thin Man", also available in "Penguin Modern Classics". "One of the greatest crime writers, who set standards that others still try to attain". ("Sunday Times"). "Raymond Chandler invented a new way of talking about America, and America has never looked the same to us since." (Paul Auster, author of "The New York Trilogy"). "Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angelos with a romantic presence". (Ross Macdonald, author of "The Drowning Pool").




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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

The original and best of Raymond Chandler's novels and short stories - truly a classic about the seedy side of 1930's upper class America.

Review by

This handsome Penguin edition of three of Raymond Chandler's best novels enhance one's pleasure in reading them. Chandler evokes a strong sense of place in a Los Angeles rife with criminality, beautiful women and money, lots of money - and the corruption that goes with it.His hero, Philip Marlowe is a man of impossible integrity but this makes him an attractive protagonist as he makes his way along those "mean streets." Chandler's beautiful writing transforms the 'hard boiled' Fiction Genre into something more meaningful, a struggle to live morally in an amoral environment. This is conveyed particularly well in "the Long Goodbye" which amongst other things explores the meaning of friendship.The quality of the writing and the thematic concerns make the sometimes confused plotting less of an issue for the reader. Famously, Chandler was asked to unravel some of the mysteries of "The Big Sleep" for Howard Hawks and Bogart when they were making the movie of his novel, and he could not help them!It is hardly surprising that these books have translated so well to film,given the strong characters, brilliantly drawn settings and wonderful denouements. There is also something dream-like about the world Raymond Chandler has created, a perfect fit for the Dream Factory that is Hollywood.

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