I was a bit worried for the impact Raymond Chandler would’ve on me. You see, this is one of those times I didn’t want to go against the tide. I definitely wanted to like him!
Raymond Chandler together with Dashiell Hammett and Ross Macdonald are the trinity of hardboiled Noir Crime Fiction. These writers paved the way for the likes of John Connolly, Dennis Lehane, James Lee Burke, Robert Wilson, George Pelecanos and so many other authors that it would be impossible to name all of them. Not only did they influence Crime Fiction writers, the PI/detective novel can be read within genres like Fantasy, Horror and even Science Fiction. But most important these authors gave Crime Fiction a certain quality. They gave the genre a face.
So, did Chandler disappoint me? No!
The book grew more and more as I approached the final chapter. Of course it was a bit annoying having to deal with Marlowe’s extreme-cool manners. It seemed that he always has everything under control even when being at disadvantage. And since the story happens around the 20’s it’s not easy to understand the way of thinking of the time. Noir!
I must say that “The Big Sleep” didn’t blow me away. I think the mystery and plot was rather weak, but on the hand, word by word, Raymond Chandler can probably beat 99% of the writers in the genre… so many cool metaphors.