Book: The Big Sleep
Author: Raymond Thornton Chandler
Genre: Hardboiled detective, crime novel
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date: 1939
The Big Sleep Book, written by Raymond Chandler, was originally published in 1939 and then reissued in 2009. The big sleep by Raymond Chandler is a cynical fiction crime novel that takes you on a ride of secrets where the characters are double-crossing with one another. The truths have been revealed throughout the story that gives you chills in the spine. The title “The Big Sleep” is a metaphor used for death. The protagonist, Philip Marlowe, an inspiring character has summoned to old General Sternwood’s house whose daughter is being blackmailed by someone. Raymond Chandler has proven his marvelous sense of structuring and making this story in an art form. If you are a thriller fan, then this classic piece is for you with numerous mysterious twists. This is my “The Big Sleep Book Review” for you to decide whether you should go for this entertaining read or not.
About the Author:
Raymond Thornton Chandler, an American-British novelist, was born in July 1988. He entered in detective fictional writing in 1932 and published some famous reads. His popular piece of art, The Big Sleep novel, was published in 1939 that amazed his fans. During his lifetime, he was able to produce numerous short stories. Along with that, he published seven full novels including Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The Little Sister (1949), and The Long Goodbye (1953). His immense stylistic influence has always been popular. Before his death on March 26, 1959, he was elected as a President of Mystery Writers of America.
Analysis and Evaluation of the Book
Main Theme of the Book and Author’s treatment of it:
“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. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with a dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark little clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved, and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.”
This is the first quote from the book to show how the author adopted an artistic and classy approach to introduce the main character Philip Marlowe. Philip Marlowe is a detective that is one his journey to solve a case for a millionaire whose daughter is also involved. I would like to add here in my “The Big Sleep” book analysis that Raymond has treated this classic book with a creative and thrilling approach. He has mentioned even the slightest interesting details that most of the writers fail to do. He notices the town in its stark daylight and even in the shadows. He has mentioned unobtrusive details of the suspects involved in the case that will leave you thrilled and stunned. Raymond beautifully explains how we have little details around us all the time that we most of the time, ignore. This book brings so many things to our notice that how our society can still relate to those times e.g. homosexuality was out there. Moreover, there were criminal cases and casual sex was a thing. This masterpiece with twists and mysteries deserve a read even if you are not a mystery fan.
Strength and Weakness:
One of the biggest strengths that I am going to mention in this The Big Sleep book summary is how beautifully Raymond has described memorable characters and tough situations. The detective fiction readers will know how everything is connected and nothing remains in disguise. Marlowe is an inspiring figure in the novel. He’s the man of his words and won’t accept a job if he is unsatisfied. Raymond has shown this character tough and classy. Marlowe likes his work to be done by himself and has no secretary. There are lots of intense moments where Marlowe’s classiness is shown through the flowing words of Raymond Chandler e.g. “Tall, aren’t you?” she said.
“I didn’t mean to be.”
Her eyes rounded. She was puzzled. She was thinking. I could see, even on that short acquaintance that thinking was always going to be a bother to her.”
On the other hand, the only weakness that I found in this novel is the excess slang words used. To be honest, I did not get many of those. Although it was not hard to get along with them I did not feel connected to those parts. Giving you an example here, “faggot” is used in the book throughout. In short, the dark and hardboiled humor used in the book might offend so many readers. Another thing that might bother many readers is the attitude and behavior of most men in this book. This includes an example of a homophobic misogynist whom Marlowe comes across with. Marlowe is the only character in the novel that follows a moral compass. This leads us to think that this era was a homophobic and sexist time.
Your Take on the book
Overall The Big Sleep book is a must-read that makes you contemplate life. It begins with “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.” Marlowe is the protagonist who is narrating the story and he seems like a sophisticated man with a lot of class. He is helping General Sternwood with a case while his daughter has been involved. The structure of the whole novel is very well done with the up-to-the-mark writing style of Raymond Chandler. No one else would have brought life to the characters and dialogues in this hard-boiled criminal novel, in such a brilliant way. Every page is filled with magic and new information that maintains the flow till the end. The brimming story and the main character Marlowe who is a private detective, makes you want to be the part of this novel. In my opinion, it was one of the superb crime novels that I have ever read! It is a big YES for me.
Overall Rating: 5/5