The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

The Big Sleep was written by Raymond Chandler and came out in 1939. In terms of writing Chandler was a late starter and an outsider; basically he was a middle aged English public school boy adrift in California. The tone is set before you read even one word of the text: The Big Sleep is the gangster euphemism for death.

The main character is Philip Marlowe who is driven by his corrosive sense of moral obligation in a seedy underworld. Marlow has employed by General Sternwood to get to the bottom of the blackmailing of his unruly daughter Carmen. find Rusty Regan, an errant Irish son in law with a past. Marlowe cannot quite deliver on this task for a variety of reasons; hence his melancholy.

The plot is complex and very soon the reader is immersed in a world of pornography, gambling and Holywood low life. The descriptions are full and I found myself rereading passages just to hear the words again and visualise the scene.

Marlowe too, is a complex character and his descriptions are full of judgement and poetic conception, especially in the similes. We know a lot about what Marlowe feels about what he is seeing.

I would recommend The Big Sleep to anyone in search of a great read, it's all about action, well written, full of judgement and shot from the hip. 

Submitted by Paula