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Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep (1 Viewer)

styx

Member
I'm in the middle of The Big Sleep and I like it, but I'm a little confused. Has anyone read it? Do all the threads ultimately tie in together? Any recommendations of books by Chandler that are a little more accessible?
 

Julian_Gallo

Senior Member
The plot of "The Big Sleep" is very convoluted but as you continue reading it, it will all work itself out. This was Chandler's first novel, I believe. While I loved it, I don't think it was his best. I would highly recommend "The Long Goodbye" which to me was his best novel. He didn't write many novels:

"The Big Sleep"
"Lady In The Lake"
"The Long Goodbye"
"Farewell, My Lovely"
"Payback"
and there are a few others I can't recall at the moment.

All of them are "Philip Marlowe" books. I liked them all, personally. but "The Long Goodbye" was my favorite.
 

styx

Member
Thanks for the recs. Farewell My Lovely is in the same volume as The Big Sleep so maybe I'll try that next. Any other writers like Raymond Chandler that either of you recommend? I've been watched a lot of noir movies, but I don't know as much about noir literature.
 

Julian_Gallo

Senior Member
styx said:
Thanks for the recs. Farewell My Lovely is in the same volume as The Big Sleep so maybe I'll try that next. Any other writers like Raymond Chandler that either of you recommend? I've been watched a lot of noir movies, but I don't know as much about noir literature.

There's John D. McDonald, who wrote the "Archer" series....it had been said that he picked up the torch from Chandler.

Mickey Spillane, who wrote the "Mike Hammer" books. He's not as good a writer as Chandler but his books are definitely more gritty, violent and a nice look into the McCarthy era. I'm not sure how available his books are these days, but they are definitely "Noir" in an extreme sense. I personally recommend them highly. Try to read "One Late Night", which is a picture perfect expression of the anti-communist sentiments of the mid-1950s. But "I, The Jury" is typically Noir...and "Kiss Me Deadly".

More recently is Lawrence Block and his "Matthew Scudder" series. Block is great too, closer to Chandler than Spillane as far as the writing is concerned. Loren D. Estleman is a more "modern" noir writer as well.

A really current 'Noir" writer is Andrew Vacchs. His take on the P.I. Novel is very different. You may want to try him out. His "Burke" series.

Of course, there's Dashiel Hammet, James M. Cain, as was mentioned. Again, highly recommended.
 

Julian_Gallo

Senior Member
Yeah, I know a lot of mystery buffs absolutely hate Spillane. I don't know, but I liked him. I think it's because his prose was so stripped down, almost to a ridiculous degree...and sometimes the plots were a little over the top. But I still recommend them. What I liked about him was that he was on his own wavelength. He did his own thing and didn't care about what was generally accepted in mystery fiction.

But let's face it. He was writing for the masses. I'm sure he didn't see what he was doing as art at all. Unlike Chandler, whose essay "The Simple Art of Murder" shows the vast differences in approach to the two writers.
 
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