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The Big Sleep (1939)

by Raymond Chandler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Philip Marlowe (1)

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8,715251669 (3.98)622
Marlowe takes on an assignment from the Sternwood family: the child-woman Carmen, the sultry Frances, and the ancient General too far past his prime to cope with his daughters' brand of trouble. Stepping in to deal with a case of blackmail, Marlowe follows a trail that leads him into a landscape littered with murder and deception.… (more)
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English (238)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (2)  French (2)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (250)
Showing 1-5 of 238 (next | show all)
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler reeks in simile. The simile twinkles from every page with this brilliant technique. Death becomes the big sleep, and many characters plummeted into this sleep in this hard hitting and fast-moving detective story. The book opens with Philip Marlowe as he prepares to meet a new client, General Sternwood. What description of the Sternwood house? I can feel the heat forcing the perspiration. Can you just see Carmen Sternwood and her malicious innocence? The comparisons in the novel create laughs and build understanding of Marlowe. This explanation for poverty caught my attention “I been shaking two nickels together for a month, trying to get them to mate”. The line about the woman in the bookstore builds an unique description “approached me with enough sex appeal to stampede a businessman’s lunch”. Every page taunts with these witty remarks and provides a comic relief to all the killings. Raymond Chandler’s style lightens the story and moves the reader too quickly through the novel. ( )
  delphimo | May 9, 2021 |
“As honest as you can expect a man to be in a world where its going out of style."

“Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead."



I am having a great time discovering Chandler. It is just great entertainment value. ( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
I’m not sure if I’ve read this book before. I know I’ve seen the film several times. Which meant some details were familiar but some weren’t and I couldn’t work out if I remembered them from the movie. The Big Sleep is Chandler’s first novel and its plot is as convoluted as any of the later ones, if not more so. Marlowe is hired to investigate a blackmail demand received by a wealthy retired general, but there proves to be more to the case. The general’s youngest daughter has been photographed nude, and the husband of the older daughter disappeared some weeks before and the general is keen to learn his whereabouts. The relationship between Marlowe and the older daughter generates sparks in the novel, but apparently Bogart and Bacall were much more so during the film shoot so they recut the movie to forefront their relationship at the expense of the plot. There are apparently two cuts of the film, one more faithful to the book, the other more of a Bogart-Bacall star vehicle. I’ve no idea which I’ve seen, the latter I suspect. The book at least has the canonical plot, and while it’s not Chandler’s best, it does demonstrate his style was pretty much fully formed from the start. It does not read like a novel written by someone finding their way. ( )
  iansales | Feb 9, 2021 |
NA
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
Just great. The only thing that could have made it better would have been not knowing the story..... but even with the film and so many (excellent) BBC radio 4 readings and plays it's still a great plot! And the vivid language is fresh as ever. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 238 (next | show all)
Novela repleta de nervio y de ingeniosos diálogos. Es un caso de chantaje el que lleva a Marlowe a asomarse a las alcantarillas de una sociedad en apariencia espléndida.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia
 

» Add other authors (127 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chandler, Raymondprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Del Buono, OresteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gould, ElliottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidder, HarveyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marking, StevenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ortlepp, GunarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rankin, IanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Virtanen, SeppoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Грънчаров, МихаилTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.
Quotations
Such a lot of guns around town, and so few brains.
Whoever had done it had meant business. Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.
It had the austere simplicity of fiction rather than the tangled woof of fact.
What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that. Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell.
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Marlowe takes on an assignment from the Sternwood family: the child-woman Carmen, the sultry Frances, and the ancient General too far past his prime to cope with his daughters' brand of trouble. Stepping in to deal with a case of blackmail, Marlowe follows a trail that leads him into a landscape littered with murder and deception.

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Book description
Plot Summary: The decrepit General Sternwood hires Detective Marlowe to investigate Geiger, the man who is blackmailing him. Marlowe discovers Geiger is running a pornography lending library under the front of an antique book store. Marlowe tries to confront Geiger, but finds Geiger dead along with evidence that Geiger has been taking nude photos of Sternwood’s youngest daughter Carmen. While Marlowe takes the drugged Carmen home, Geiger’s body disappears along with the photographic evidence. As one murder leads to another, Marlowe must follow the clues to protect the Sternwood family from its own dark secrets.
Appeal Factors: Private investigator subgenre. Narrated in the first-person by Marlowe. Primary characters are complex. The atmosphere is dark and brooding. The frame highlights the dark underbelly of L.A. The language is succinct, but very descriptive; powerful, gritty and realistic. Action scenes are suspenseful and fairly fast-paced, with space for reflection in between. The reader is drawn in as Marlowe uncovers each new layer of clues. Violent, but not graphic.
Haiku summary
General's daughters
are handful for Marlowe...but
who did slay chauffeur?
(abbottthomas)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140108920, 0141037598

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