Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.I must be honest. I’ve not really read Raymond Chandler before. I say “not really” because do remember buying a collection of short stories in the eighties when ITV had made a series of them starring the late Powers Boothe. A man who certainly had the Philip Marlowe look about him. Don’t remember reading them however.
Nonetheless Raymond Chandler’s creation of the wise cracking Shamus in late thirties Hollywood is still a male icon whether you have read the books or not. Indeed off the top of my head apart from Sherlock Holmes and James Bond I can’t think of a more enduring one.
It’s also the case, whether you’ve read his books or not, that Chandler is almost as remembered for the style of writing as for Marlowe himself. Something I cannot think you can say for any other popular writer.
For two thirds of the book I loved it. Marlowe is hired to deal with a case of blackmail which of course leads to me. I was turning the page with excitement.
I was gripped.
Let us be clear here about Marlowe. He’s a decent man doing a tough job in a tough world. Comparing him with James Bond is instructive, especially in his treatment of women. He slaps one woman for being hysterical. Not saying you should approve but I’ve seen hysterical men slapped in films as well. The only other time he hits a woman he was attacked first. Unlike James Bond you wouldn’t have Marlowe on the prowl for the latest notch on the bedpost. Or get involved with a discussion about rape with a rapist in the same manner you would discuss the weather.
But anyway I was gripped.
However let’s make a quick health diversion. There seems to be, worringly early in the season, a cold, cough and flu bug going around. Daughter has had it and has missed some school because of it. Ditto wife and work. Ditto friends. Ditto work colleagues. I however seemed immune…until Saturday.
Now I have a cold, a headcold and a sore throat. I have tablets and throat sweets shaking inside my belly and it’s my turn to start snivelling. I’m in that position where I feel like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards, and then forwards again. But I’m not unwell enough that I can’t go to work.
The only good thing about this is that there’s been no jibes from wife/daughter about “man flu”. Especially as they’re the ones who probably gave it to me.
But the mistake I made with The Big Sleep was that I loved this book so much I wanted to continue reading it. Trouble is the mind was willing but the nose was runny and the eyes watering. In these conditions you might finish a book, as I did, but you don’t appreciate it. The thing about this novel is that whilst it’s far from being a snobby you do have to concentrate to get all it’s nuances and one liners.
So you see you can love reading too much sometimes. There we go.
Until the next time.