Monday, January 21, 2013

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler - Book Review

The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, #1)The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My first Raymond Chandler! The first of many (at least 2 more) to come! (I will be repeating this line for a lot of books this year. I'll be using a lot of parenthesis as well, I guess.)

Before I begin about Marlowe, let me talk about two things that struck me towards the end of this book.

Firstly, about one of my favorite moments in a book. When the author speaks about the reason (implicitly) behind the title of the book. I just love the way some titles are weaved in at the most heightened moments. I remember it vividly with Crying of Lot 49 and The Sirens of Titan. The Big Sleep has this serene moment described in one of the the most well-written passages in a really well-written book.

Secondly, for those who have read this book, here is a little snippet from Raymond Chandler's history: "Having started in 1922 as a bookkeeper and auditor, Chandler was by 1931 a highly paid vice-president of the Dabney Oil Syndicate but a year later, his alcoholism, absenteeism, promiscuity with female employees and threatened suicides contributed to his being fired." Do you see the connection with The Big Sleep? Even though a very meager one? Or is it just me reading too much into it?

Coming back to the book. Meet (at your own risk!) Mr. Philip Marlow, Shamus-extraordinaire! The quick-talking, hard-hitting, Son of a Gun. He is not Sherlock (No shit!), neither of those inducers-deducers. He fights with his own instincts, winning against the others'. He gets out there, dodges bullets, shoots excellent repartee's, and goes home to a drink or five. Man, he has style. Serious style!

Chandler has put in some really great writing. I don't even want to talk about the amazing lines from the book. I'd rather reproduce them as is!

"She gave me one of those smiles the lips have forgotten before they reach the eyes."
"I been shaking two nickels together for a month, trying to get them to mate."

And if you are from the IT sector, you'd know why I love this one:
"There’s a boy that is tough like some guys think they are tough. He does a job for Eddie Mars when Mars needs him - trouble-shooting."
I am going to be smiling every time someone utters that word!

The compilation that I am reading has 3 books including The Big Sleep. I hope the other two carry on at the speed at which Marlowe drinks his Scotch. Till then, If you ever want to question Marlow's manners, here is what he has to say:

"And I don’t like your manners."
"I’m not crazy about yours," I said. I didn’t ask to see you. You sent for me. I don’t mind your ritzing me or drinking your lunch out of a Scotch bottle. I don’t mind your showing me your legs. They’re very swell legs and it’s a pleasure to make their acquaintance. I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners. They’re pretty bad. I grieve over them during the long winter evenings. But don’t waste your time trying to cross-examine me."

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