Friday, June 12, 2009

The Big Sleep

Friday, June 12, 2009

Great writers create mythological characters.

In The Big Sleep, Marlowe says, "I'm selling what I have to sell to make a living. What little guts and intelligence the Lord gave me and the willingness to get pushed around in order to protect a client. It's against my principles to tell as much as I've told tonight, without consulting the General. As for the cover-up, I've been in the police business myself, as you know. They come a dime a dozen in any big city . . . I'm still on the case. I'd do the same thing again, if I had to."

How many later detective novel heroes followed in those footsteps?

I've read
The Big Sleep before. This time I was impressed with the character. The man lives by a code. That code involves a certain practical kind of loyalty to his client, even if he has to risk his life (which he does).

The other thing that struck me this time is how much of a role setting plays in
The Big Sleep. The detailed descriptions of the places rich people live and play, as well as of the hovels where the small hoods live and work, help make this novel what it is.

At one point Marlowe comments that he doesn't believe a person's story because the story is too much like fiction. It is not messy, as things are in real life. This book has the feel of real life.

Most people may know The Big Sleep, not from the book, but from the movie.

I don't need to say much more about it. It is a classic, but it is good reading too.

1 comment:

Corey Wilde said...

I'll second that, not that Chandler's work can't speak for itself.