the big sleep

I’ve never lost my youthful taste for whodunnits, yet I’ve never read some of the classics. That’s why I read Raymond Chandler’s first novel, The Big Sleep.

It’s a classic, so I won’t repeat the many reviews out there. The plot is hard and sharp, the characters complete and complex, the settings cold and real: all were good. Chandler put style before plot, leaving loose ends, but I don’t care.

What really got me was the quality of the language. No word is wasted. There’s more lean precision in Chandler’s prose than in much contemporary poetry, mine included. I love his style of shock abuttal.

The book’s descriptions are so good I found myself half wanting to visit seedy 1930s Los Angeles. It’s probably a good thing I can’t, I’d never handle the drinking and smoking necessary to get up each morning there.

The audiobook was narrated by Ray Porter. His flow and dialect bought the language out. There were minor hiccups when joins between sittings were a little too obvious, but that was nothing. Porter’s storytelling was excellent.

I’ve already bought my next Chandler.