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It's hard not to picture Bogart, but there is so much that is lost on the silver screen. The movie 'stage punches' and dated cinema left me feeling disconnected, whereas in the book, the grit and brawn came to life in color.
24 of 28 people found this review helpful
Raymond Chandler is the Homer of Lalaland. What Faulkner was for Mississippi, what Hemingway was for the Florida Keys, what Emerson was for Massachusetts; that is what Raymond Chandler was for Los Angeles. He was the author who defined the regional vernacular, who determined the appropriate literary form for all subsequent regional writers.
You may find that statement overblown. You will say, Raymond Chandler was just a mystery writer,. But that misses the point:
The mystery novel is the classic genre of southern California. It captures the tawdry, banal, amoral essence of southern California. It reifies the sordid human drama that grubs out its existence against the southland’s pastoral but polluted landscape, it dramatizes the jejune dreams of quick fame and lucre played out by philistines upon a paradise meant for something more ethereal. The southern California murder mystery is the objective correlative of the despoiled dreams and perverted ambitions of the mercenary felon, the felonious mercenary, who attempts to mint southern California’s “beauty in to power” (apologies to Jackson Browne).
There was no southern California literature before Chandler. Homesick one-offs like F Scott Fitzgerald’s “Last Tycoon” don’t count. Supercilious hatchet jobs by eastern aesthetes like Nathaniel West don’t count. Quick bullet-train excursions by northern Californians like Steinbeck and Norris don’t count. There was no literature in southern California before Chandler. And since Chandler, all writers have been, in some measure, his apprentices. The mystery novel has developed as the essential southern California genre from Chandler through Ross McDonald, and James Ellroy, to the early works of T Jefferson Parker, as a coherent tradition. And the art form could only maintain coherence if it spoke to something tangible and real in the southern California culture.
So read Raymond Chandler. Read everything. Start at the beginning with “The Big Sleep”, and keep going till you get to “The Long Goodbye”. Don’t ask which is best. It would be like asking which Faulkner novel is best. You can’t just pick and choose. They’re all part of a landscape, and you won’t see the entire panorama until you have read through them all.
46 of 55 people found this review helpful
This is beautifully read and in places very funny - and perceptive. (Four more words required according to Audible - Chandler at least knew when to stop.)
21 of 21 people found this review helpful
As I'm sure you know, Raymond Chandler was a genre defining crime writer & his character Philip Marlowe,depicted so memorably by Humphrey Bogart, is the template for the film noir Private Eye.
Chandler's prose crackles & hums with the electricity of Los Angeles in the early mid twentieth century. He will hit you with similes that chime with the times " her eyes became narrow and black and as shallow as the enamel on a cafeteria tray" and Marlowe is true to his own code.
I listen to a lot of books and rarely have I encountered a better narrator than Ray Porter; like his female counterpart Lorelei King,he is a one person cast, clearly defining the characters with vocal dexterity. The passage where Philip Marlowe pretends to be a book collector is a case in point. Ray Porter manages to pull off Marlowe acting a part while still retaining Marlowe's tone. Much as Lorelei King can convincingly portray male characters, Porter can "do" women,a variety of women.
Although I think of Chandler in Black & White his prose is often descriptive of vivid colours and smells. The opening lines are a great example of this attention to detail. There is a dry wit and a quart of whiskey behind much of the brilliance Raymond Chandler writes, but also a heart and an ethical framework.
In short, for me, Raymond Chandler is literature that happens to be in the crime genre. Ray Porter delivers the text with meaning and understanding and with the actors respect for the writing that some only reserve for Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams.
a five star experience!
28 of 30 people found this review helpful
First Raymond Chandler full novel for me. An expanded version of Killer in the Rain read by Elliott Gould. Go to this on next. A bit of a repeat but then more short stories included. wonderful.
I had never read this classic book before, and found my head reeling from the proliferation of characters. I enjoyed Chandler's descriptions of people and places, and the suspense. the reader was excellent.