The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

I’m not entirely sure how I’ve managed it but I’ve never read a Chandler book before. Given that I love modern crime noir and that just about every single crime author will cite Chandler as a major inspiration it is even more strange. Well I’ve rectified that mistake and if you haven’t done so then I suggest you do now.

Philip Marlowe is a private detective. He has his own code and he lives by it. At several points in this story he is referred to as being a soldier. I think this is Chandler drawing upon his own experiences in The Great War and the impact that had on how people like himself were changed afterwards. That bearing and impression of having always seen worse. This book was published in the 1930s and is very much of its time. The views of the characters including Marlowe are at times quite uncomfortable to read but I got past that. The main thing for me was the style. It feels like Marlowe is narrating directly in to your head. It is so well written and easy to read. The First page sucks you in and the story never lets you go. It is a fascinating story that gives you an insight in to just how corrupt that period of history was. It also made me think. Are things really that much different now? Have our collective views really become more tolerant and less selfish?

This is a great book that makes you think about more than just what is written.


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