Book Notes: "Farewell, My Lovely" by Raymond Chandler

Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2)Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Raymond Chandler's work was recommended to me recently. I was reliably informed that Chandler's prose was "sharp". Some background reading suggested that Chandler's use of similes was brilliant. Both of these suggestions proved to be correct. The story, although not considered by some to be as good as The Big Sleep, was gripping. I kept imagining Bogart as Marlowe, but when he was too witty or too "gobby", Bogart didn't fit the bill. Marlowe's first person narration, in particular his witty and cynical inner monologue, stripped the Hollywood veneer and provided a richer depth of character, neatly humanised by sufficient and believable foibles. Usually, I pretend not to care whodunnit, but in this work the villain is revealed through Holmes-like deduction. What I like, though, is the way that the central theme, or maybe it is straight-forward social commentary, emerges long after the major climax. Thinking back to my high school English days, if you were to graph the plot, after the plot's major climax and anti-climax, there is a short but gradual rise to a separate thematic climax. This to me was unexpected but brilliant. The most annoying thing now is that Chandler has thrown me off my set reading list, and it saddens me to think that I do not have enough life left to read all that I would like to be able to read. But I did learn that you cannot overuse similes, provided they are brilliant. One can only hope.

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