The Long Goodbye

The Long Goodbye❰Reading❯ ➶ The Long Goodbye Author Raymond Chandler – Down and out drunk Terry Lennox has a problem his millionaire wife is dead and he needs to get out of LA fast So he turns to the only friend he can trust private investigator Philip Marlowe Marlowe is Down and out drunk Terry Lennox has a problem his millionaire wife is dead and he needs to get out of LA fast So he turns to the only friend he can trust private investigator Philip Marlowe Marlowe is willing to help a man down on his luck but later Lennox commits suicide in Mexico and things start to turn nasty Marlowe is drawn into a sordid crowd of adulterers and alcoholics in LA's Idle Valley where the rich are suffering one big suntanned hangover The Long PDF/EPUB ² Marlowe is sure Lennox didn't kill his wife but how many stiffs will turn up before he gets to the truth. To say goodbye is to die a littleThere are some books that just feel good to have on your dashboard never too far from your fingertips to read in the tiny gaps between obligations and responsibility The type of book that rides shotgun and keeps you company through the darker hours through lonely nights at a shady laundromat or booze soaked rainstorms on your porch Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye is that sort of book that sort of friend The past few months have seen some bleak times and I’ve been on a Chandler kick to press through them Of all the Marlowe adventures this was the one that stands out like a lighthouse in a storm telling an unforgettable tale of murder and mystery Chandler took noir to soaring heights of literary acceptance with his works joining Dashiell Hammett as an essential author of the genre and The Long Goodbye leaves an eternal mark on the face of literature even so that the upbeat and hardboiled The Big Sleep that kicked off the Phillip Marlowe novel series and inspired fantastic films such as The Big Lebowski Goodbye is a novel for hard times hard drinking hard living; an aged and cynical than ever Marlowe proves he’s worth his salt in honoring the memory of a short lived but impactful friendship with Terry Lennox Lennox a war hero alcoholic has been a victim of either suicide or arranged murder in a small Mexican town while on the lam escaping an accusation for murder of his rich wife and Marlowe will stop at nothing to see through the doors slammed shut by political power and fear and discover the truth While a bit bloated this is a novel of near perfection in the mystery genre that is guaranteed to keep you up at night gladly dropping uarters for another dryer cycle in order to keep reading because a mystery with Marlowe is about as good as life getsTo label this novel perfection would be to bastardize any opinions on the literature widely accepted by the academy that I’ve previously championed and praised but few novels have felt like a better friend in hard times than The Long Goodbye Or perhaps it’s just that I like occupying Marlowe’s headspace I even named my new cat after him upon completion of The Big Sleep Marlowe is the type of man you wish you were but not one you’d want to spend time with He is fearless and devoted nearly to a fault unafraid to play the asshole to get what he wants He swims upon his moods and cherishes those moments of getting right up in someones face just to drown out a bad feeling or ascertain the truth He calls everyone out on their bullshit and possesses a moral compass so strong that nobody besides himself seems to be worth a damn Pushy and thorny Marlowe is the hero for me Reading a Chandler novel is much like geeking out on the old John Wayne films I’d watch with my father as a child particularly True Grit There are the pitfalls of blatant misogyny racism particularly towards Latin Americans in this one which with my love of Latin American literature was particularly not cool and cornball dated humor but it is honestly very easy to overlook when the plot is that engaging the writing that ‘cool’ and the novel so entertaining How can you not love a novel with a passage like this Alcohol is like loveThe first kiss is magic the second is intimate the third is routine After that you take the girl’s clothes off¹This is the sort of novel that keeps you pouring a glass along with Marlowe—perhaps is that what they mean by an ‘active reader’ one who empathizes with the character and drinks when he drinks?—and despite being a pot boiler of a thriller never insults the intellect The twists are fresh and the writing crisp Granted the novel is a bit bloated and some elements may raise the ‘ really?’ eyebrow of critiue but on the whole it works It is easy to consider many bits as cliche in the modern day but important to remember that it was Chandler that invented it before it became cliche There is also a really charming self consciousness to this novel with regards to the writing ‘ Why did I go into such detail?’ Marlowe asks of himself ‘ because the charged atmosphere made every little thing stand out as a performance’ The writing truly fits the scene and the PI narrator While in most novels it would be easy to sneer at a lengthy passage on the physical description and dress of a character as they first walk on the scene here it is at home since Marlowe would need to analyze a fresh face for all they are worth to build a profile of them uickly in order to interact with them and press for the goal Chandler has a true gift for dialogue and character mannerisms as well creating a wide engaging cast ‘ He was a guy who talked with commas like a heavy novel’ he says at one point and the dialogue of each character is always brilliantly nuanced There is even a wonderful sense of satire on authors present with Chandler poking fun at top selling authors who write for profit and not for artistic merit as is shown with Roger Wade The continuous satire and critiue of Hollywood and California that permeates Chandler’s novels comes alive in comical form with the desert sobering up clinic and the mentally challenged guard who cannot separate his fantasy role playing of cowboys and tough guys from reality On the surface it is easy to scoff at these scenes but Chandler plays for something deeperIt is fascinating to have read Chandler grow as a writer and to see his characters develop and age over time Like a racoon Marlowe has grown older and meaner and tougher but all the honorable strong willed and fearless Maybe I was tired and irritable Maybe I felt a little guilty I could learn to hate this guy without even knowing him I could just look at him across the width of a cafeteria and want to kick his teeth in The relationship between him and Ohl has soured a bit both of them really elbowing the other in the ribs with force and sadistic pleasure with Ohl no longer a chain smoker but constantly rubbing an unlit cigarette between his lips What has not changed is the insight into Los Angeles and Hollywood blossoming now into subtle jabs of social insight with Marlowe looking down at all the socialites as their sins and flaws seem to define them The Long Goodbye reads almost like a western where the territory is wild and untamed and crime running rampant not as a driving force but as a symptom of the American lifestyle we have let cultivate itself Power and greed and evil are seen here as byproducts of a society ruled by its own fear and vice and Marlowe must navigate these deadly waters to uphold the good names of himself and those he cares about The Long Goodbye is a cornerstone of noir and mystery that rises above any genre into simply being a beautiful piece of literature A searing social critiue orchestrated with dazzling plot twists enviable dialogue prowess and a firm grounding in doing what is right simply because it is right Chandler has created a masterpiece that is just as potent today as it was when first written This is the sort of novel that scratches an itch of being both a fluff read and an intellectual endeavour there must be a term for this somewhere and grabs the reader by the throat and heart and won’t let go until the final heart wrenching few lines Plus the Robert Altman film starring Elliott Gould is fantastic though not a perfect adaption it still works and rivals even Chinatown as a masterpiece of noir cinema This novel was a true comfort on many a dark night and it was sad to see it end Marlowe is a true literary hero and one I won’t ever forget455‘ Out there in the night of a thousand crimes people were dying being maimed cut by flying glass crushed against steering wheels or under heavy tires People were being beaten robbed strangled raped and murdered People were hungry sick; bored desperate with loneliness or remorse or fear angry cruel feverish shaken by sobs A city no worse than others a city rich and vigorous and full of pride a city lost and beaten and full of emptinessIt all depends on where you sit and what your own private score is I didn’t have one I didn’t careI finished the drink and went to bed’¹ While there is plenty of drinking to be had finish this novel without wanting to go order a gimlet I dare you Chandler does well to also add an air of caution to the intake of alcohol To drink in moderation is one thing but the horrors of alcoholism and excess make up a major portion of the novel ‘ A man who drinks too much on occasion is still the same man as he was sober An alcoholic a real alcoholic is not the same man at all You can't predict anything about him for sure except that he will be someone you never met before’ Philip Marlowe a cynical shamus looks down at the parking lot of The Dancers Club watching a drunk be put into his car a silver Rolls Royce but the annoyed valet has trouble the left leg refuses to be moved inside instead remains firmly on the ground Where the rest of the intoxicated man will soon be also The pretty red headed woman sitting next to him or was in the automobile is very angry with good reason Turns out she is Sylvia Lennox ex wife of this inebriated war veteran Second World War Terry Lennox and he has the scars on his face to prove it Mr Marlowe not known for being a nice guy comes down the steps and helps the defenseless Terry up While the multimillionaire's notorious daughter says she's late for an engagement and goes to get a cab for the lush Mr Lennox Taking the vehicle it's hers speeding away like a race driver towards the finish line What to do with this pathetic creature take him home and sober him up thinks Marlowe can't leave the poor man in the gutter things were different in the last year of the 1940's besides Thanksgiving had just been celebrated Soon these unlikely two become friends Mr Marlowe keeps Terry from the drunk tank the next time he sees him trying to be vertical on the streets of Los Angeles hustles him away when a cop notices But would you believe it ? This alcoholic friend living mostly in some dark hole outside wherever he could find or reach one remarries the wealthy daughter of Mr Harlan Potter and is on their second honeymoon in Las Vegas From the top to the bottom and back again sending a hundred dollar check to the astonished Marlowe for all his complications a few days before Christmas too They later become drinking partners at a dingy bar but happiness does not last Mr Lennox is just a front to keep the promiscuous Sylvia looking respectable Daddy is a cold conservative honorable man no bad publicity he likes it as much as a stock market crash but a murder is committed there will be and Terry is suspected the hero flees to Mexico with the assistance of Philip who asks not the right uestions a pal is a pal The tough police aren't slapping the private detective around beating him like a punching bag with eyes not the first time either from criminals or the law it does still hurt but keeps his trap shutJailed looking out into space only blankness waiting and wondering how can he get out of this foolish mess maybe be incarcerated in San uentin the big house for years but has his pride intact Days later he is sprung becomes involved with Mr and Mrs Wade in the exclusive then San Fernando Valley Eileen Wade is breathtakingly beautiful Roger Wade is another drunk but a best selling writer needs to stop drinking in order to finish his next book a swords and romancea favorite of critics it isn't they however are poor and he is rich Philip Marlowe through no fault of his own brings death and sinister lurking gangsters Raymond Chandler the king of mystery authors has another great novel which lifts it above the genre into serious distinguished literature Philip Marlowe saves a drunken guy from being dumped in a ditch He does it again another time He does is yet again another time And another And another Finally he gets into trouble for doing this no good deed ever goes unpunishedThis book gives a very realistic gritty picture of US life in early fifties It provides social commentary on the subject It is considered by many critics to be the best Raymond Chandler novel a classic of literature in general It also happened to be unnecessary long and boring As a mystery book it is really third rate so let us just call it classic drama with some mystery elements just to be fairPhilip Marlowe does not feel the same to the extent that I would like to ask the late author Who the heck is the guy impersonating him and what happened to the real one? Gone are brilliant one liners of the previous books which give a good picture with minimum effort Gone are Marlowe's wisecracks The plot of the previous 5 novels moved with a very fast rate where the whole story took place within a couple of days This time we have sentences like Several weeks passed on practically every pageContinuing the theme of the guy impersonating Marlowe in the book he really acts out of character here Where is the guy who went head to head with an armed ruthless killer trying to protect a person who he never saw before The Big Sleep? This time he does not do anything even remotely exciting; the whole investigation took whopping 2 pages out of 350 He spends his time doing boring routine and being bullied He is bullied by everybody and their brother corrupted copes good cops millionaires and their henchmen mobsters random thugs gorgeous women vegan activists Buddhist monks centenarian grandmothers and tough kindergarten kids Sorry I got carried away in the last four cases but it could happen with the rate things were going The only reason for all the bulling? Marlowe got stubborn for no good cause whatsoeverThe rating of this book is 3 stars with one half of a star added for its classic status Raymond Chandler mentioned in his essay that during his writing if he felt the plot became slow he would make a man with a gun come through the door I was waiting for the guy through the whole book; he never came This review is a copypaste of my BookLikes one As research for a novel I'm writing I'm reading detective fiction and stealing everything of value My story takes place in LA of the early '90s but I'm buying every type of firework on the stand and lighting the fuse Though I've seen Philip Marlowe adapted to film or television my introduction to the fiction of Raymond Chandler is The Long Goodbye the author's sixth novel featuring the Los Angeles private dick Published in 1953 it's long in the tooth but it's a testament to Chandler's immense literary skill that than sixty years of copying and pasting by others hasn't stripped this novel of its vitalityThe first person account begins with Marlowe's enigmatic relationship with Terry Lennox a fop he brings home like a stray dog sobering him up cooking him breakfast and giving him enough bucks to catch a bus to Las Vegas where a job awaits Terry reappears in Marlowe's life married to Sylvia Potter the daughter of publishing magnate Harlan Potter Not long after Terry appears on Marlowe's doorstep with a gun in his hand He offers Marlowe five hundred dollars to drive him to Tijuana Terry hasn't shot anybody with that gun but doesn't claim innocence over whatever fate has met his promiscuous wife Returning home Marlowe finds two homicide cops waiting His wise guy act doesn't go over well with the LAPD who are looking for Terry Lennox and notify Marlowe that Sylvia has been found dead in her guest house in Encino her face beaten to a pulp with a bronze statuette Marlowe doesn't believe Terry would do anything like that and loyalty costs him some smacks in the face and three days in jail The cops let him go when Lennox is located in a small mountain town in Mexico with a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head Marlowe doesn't believe Terry would kill himself either I thought about Terry Lennox in a detached sort of way He was already receding into the distance white hair and scarred face and weak charm and his peculiar brand of pride I didn't judge him or analyze him just as I had never asked him uestions about how he got wounded or how he ever happened to get himself married to anyone like Sylvia He was like somebody you meet on board a cruise ship and get to know very well and never really know at all He was gone like the same fellow when he says goodbye at the pier and let's keep in touch old man and you know you won't and he won't Likely enough you'll never even see the guy again If you do he will be an entirely different person just another Rotarian in a club car How's business? Oh not too bad You look good So do you I've put on too much weight Don't we all? Remember that trip in the Franconia or whatever it was? Oh sure swell trip wasn't it?The hell it was a swell trip You were bored stiff You only talked to the guy because there wasn't anybody around that interested you Maybe it was like that with Terry Lennox and me No not uite I owned a piece of him I had invested time and money in him and three days in the icehouse not to mention a slug in the jaw and a punch in the neck that I felt every time I swallowed Now he was dead and I couldn't even give him back his five hundred bucks That made me sore It was always the little things that make you soreMarlowe receives a visit at his office from a flashy hoodlum named Mendy Melendez and his bodyguard Melendez delights in taunting Marlowe as a cheapie not worth the bother except to threaten about making publicity off the Terry Lennox case Melendez claims that Terry not only saved his life in the war but the life of a Vegas gangster named Randy Starr Marlowe later receives an envelope with Mexican stamps a note written by Terry and a 5000 bill in it Needing something else to occupy himself with Marlowe accepts a meeting at the Ritz Beverly with a potential client a New York publishing agentThe agent pitches Marlowe the job of investigating his client Roger Wade author of tawdry and popular historical novels who's struggling to finish his latest Spencer and Wade's wife believe there might be something in Roger's past driving him into a bottle and need someone to watch him Marlowe turns the job down until he's joined by Mrs Eileen Wade a fairy princess blonde whose manner gets the dick's attention but not enough for him to take a job as male nurse for her drunk husband though Visiting Marlowe at his office the next day Eileen Wade notifies Marlowe that Roger has been missing for three days leaving only a name on a piece of yellow paper Dr VMarlowe draws on a contact in a high end Beverly Hills private investigation firm a place he turned down a job in for a list of LA area uacks with the last name V who for the right price prescribe their services to people like Roger Wade Infiltrating the operations of three uacks one at a time Marlowe leaves with nothing but disdain for their practice I paid my check left my car where it was and walked the north side of the street to the Stockwell Building It was an antiue with a cigar counter in the entrance and a manually operated elevator that lurched and hated to level off The corridor to the sixth floor was narrow and the doors had frosted glass panels It was older and much dirtier than my own building It was loaded with doctors dentists Christian science practitioners not doing too good the kind of lawyers you hope the other fellow has the kind of doctors and dentists who just scrape along Not too skillful not too clean not too much on the ball three dollars and please pay the nurse; tired discouraged men who know just exactly where they stand what kind of patients they can get and how much money they can be sueezed into paying Please Do Not Ask For Credit Doctor is In Doctor is Out That's a pretty shaky molar you have there Mrs Kazinski Now if you want this new acrylic filling every bit as good as a gold inlay I can do it for you for 14 Novocain will be two dollars extra if you wish it Doctor is In Doctor is Out That will be Three Dollars Please Pay the NurseIn a building like that there will always be a few guys making real money but they don't look it They fit into the shabby background which is protective coloring for them Shyster lawyers who are partners in a bail bond racket on the side only about two per cent of all forfeited bail bonds are ever collected Abortionists posing as anything you like that explains their furnishings Dope pushers posing as urologists dermatologists or any branch of medicine in which the treatment can be freuent and the regular use of local anesthetics is normalOf course Marlowe finds Roger Wade Of course Roger Eileen Wade knew Terry Sylvia Lennox Of course the mysteries of Sylvia's murder and Roger's ennui are related And of course Marlowe figures it out despite the rich and powerful the police and a criminal element not wanting anything figured out What I loved about The Long Goodbye from its hangover title to its reveal on the last page is the character of Philip Marlowe He doesn't have a deep past or seem to have much of a future either nor does he seem to travel far He's like an audience member at a game show sitting in one place incredulous while the sets and prizes keep revolving in front of him So passed a day in the life of a PI Not exactly a typical day but not totally untypical either What makes a man stay with it nobody knows You don't get rich you don't often have much fun Sometimes you get beaten up or shot at or tossed into the jailhouse Once in a long while you get dead Every other month you decide to give it up and find some sensible occupation while you can still walk without shaking your head Then the door buzzer rings and you open the inner door to the waiting room and there stands a new face with a new problem a new load of grief and a small piece of moneyWhile I felt The Long Goodbye dragging on a little bit I think the reason Raymond Chandler has stood the test of time is that as filmed or liberated as some of his plots have been over the years nobody can write this wee small hours of the morning prose mix together various elements or make it feel as timeless as Chandler does on the page This novel was loosely but memorably adapted in 1973 by filmmaker Robert Altman with Elliott Gould as Marlowe clinging to Chandler's dusty '50s values of loyalty while LA had entered the Me Decade An often self indulgent film I prefer the novel which functions better as a story and allows the reader into Marlowe's mindWord count 119 606 words This is the sixth and last of the full length novels that Raymond Chandler wrote featuring his iconic detective Philip Marlowe It's also the most personal in that Chandler seems to have based two of the characters Terry Lennox and Roger Wade at least in part on himselfAt the book opens Marlowe meets a man named Terry Lennox outside of a nightclub Lennox is very drunk and his date drives off and leaves him Marlowe being a good samaritan takes Lennox to his own home sobers him up and then drives him home to the mansion that Lennox shares with his very promiscuous and extremely wealthy wife On the basis of this incident Marlowe and Lennox strike up a friendship of sorts and occasionally get together for drinks Then one night Lennox turns up and asks Marlow to give him a ride to Mexico no uestions askedWell what are friends for? Marlowe gives Lennox a ride and from that point things generally go to hell in a handbasket It's very difficult to say anything else about the plot of the novel without giving things away that the reader will want to find out for him or herself This is though one of Chandler's best novels full of the social commentary and great prose for which Chandler was so deservedly famous This plot is actually a little less convoluted than some of the others and it's fun to watch it unfold I finished the book this time around after reading the other Chandler novels in order regretting even than ever the fact that there are only six of these novels along with a number of short stories I could have used a lot On a side note this novel was published in 1953 and is set sometime around 1950 It was finally filmed by Robert Altman in 1973 starring Elliot Gould as Marlowe and the story is set in the early 1970s rather than the early 1950s A lot of people like the movie a lot but I've seen it twice and have never been able to warm up to it Given the way that Humphrey Bogart inhabited the role of Marlowe and really made it his own I just couldn't buy Gould as Marlowe Also Marlowe who seemed to perfectly belong to the late 1940s and early '50s seemed out of place in the 1970s almost anachronistic For my part then when I need a Philip Marlowe film fix I'll stick with the Bogart version of The Big Sleep and I'm sure I'll be coming back to this and the other novels again and again in the coming years Chandler’s known as the king of LA noir and word is this is his best His writing is lean and clean short staccato sentences with not a word wasted Almost poetic in its brevity – not to be confused with lack of substance Humour me I’m trying it out on this review view spoilerit's fun you should try it sometime hide spoiler A down and out friend of Marlowe's flees to Mexico with Marlowe's help his wife dead under suspicious circumstances Marlowe's friend soon turns up dead an apparent suicide But what does his death if anything have to do with a drunk writer Marlowe finds himself watching?I'm not really sure how I feel about the Long Goodbye It's Chandler so the writing is great with Chandler's trademark similes and hard boiled atmosphere On the other hand it's written a little differently than his other Philip Marlowe books It's philosophical and less crime oriented The two victims in the story seem to be stand ins for Chandler himselfIt's still crime oriented though It took me forever to figure out how the two seemingly unrelated cases were linked I got there just before Marlowe did but it was a close shaveWhat else is there to say without giving anything away? Chandler once again delivers the goods just not in the same package as usual Still it was a very enjoyable read I enjoyed the atmospherics and mood of this one the last of Chandler’s detective stories featuring Philip Marlowe This one is different in being meditative and in having of a focus on alienation among the wealthy residents of gated compounds Chandler also restrains Marlowe’s use of colorful similes in his interior monologues which became a cliché in many of his imitators Compared to the earlier tales Chandler is judicious here in the playful sardonic banter Marlowe uses for dismaying and undermining his adversaries part of his signature cool bravado in the face of danger The story begins with Marlowe helping his sensitive alcoholic friend Lennox escape to Mexico with no uestions asked Soon he learns his faithless wealthy wife has been brutally murdered with Lennox the prime suspect Marlowe stays mum during brutal police uestioning and is held in jail for a few days His initial temptation to investigate the case as a possible frame is undermined by reports of Lennox’s suicide and written confession The case comes up again when he begins to find links with another PI job A publisher tries to hire him to uncover the roots of a writer’s block and violent behavior when drinking Though he turns the job down the guy’s seductive wife draws him into their situation A murder takes place that he might have prevented putting Marlowe into high gear to solve the linked cases and foil the pervasive efforts of powerful forces to suppress the truthDespite the troubles with alcohol that beset his two main characters and Chandler himself he has a wonderful way of capturing the allure Marlowe finds in drinking with Lennox “I like bars just after they open for the evening When the air inside is still cool and clean and everything is shiny and the barkeep is giving himself that last look in the mirror to see if his tie is straight and his hair is smooth I like the neat bottles on the bar back and the lovely shining glasses and the anticipation I like to watch the man mix the first one of the evening and put it down on a crisp mat and put the little folded napkin beside it I like to taste it slowly The first uiet drink of the evening in a uiet bar—that’s wonderful” I agreed with him “Alcohol is like love” he said “The first kiss is magic the second is intimate the third is routine After that you take the girl’s clothes off”Chandler’s prose has some delights in capturing the casual attitudes of the rich on power of money “I’m a big bad man Marlowe I make lots of dough I got to make lots of dough to juice the guys I got to juice in order to make lots of dough to juice the guys I got to juiceA rich businessmen has his formula for success nicely boiled down You can’t have uality with mass production You don’t want it because it lasts too long So you substitute styling which is a commercial swindle intended to produce artificial obsolescence Marlowe’s jaded attitude about conventional justice is nicely expressed is this diatribe “Let the law enforcement people do their own dirty work Let the lawyers work it out They write the laws for other lawyers to dissect in front of other lawyers to dissect in front of other lawyers called judges so that other judges can say the first judges were wrong and the Supreme Court can say the second lot were wrong Sure there’s such as a thing as law We’re up to our necks in it About all it does is make business for lawyers How long do you think the big shot mobsters would last if the lawyers didn’t show them how to operate?”Chandler seems to have some fun with frustrations of the police over mental health concerns in society’s response to crime “You two characters been seeing any psychiatrists lately?”“Jesus” Ohls said “hadn’t you heard? We got them in our hair all the time these days This ain’t police business any It’s getting to be a branch of the medical racket They’re in and out of jail the courts the interrogation rooms They write reports fifteen pages long on why some punk of a juvenile held up a liuor store or raped a schoolgirl or peddled her to the senior class Ten years from now guys like Hernandez and me will be doing Rohrschach tests and word associations instead of chin ups and target practiceSo you get the picture that there is a bit of preaching in this story But we often never sure which attitudes align with Chandler’s own I choose to believe the following words of Marlowe are close to his own and I appreciate the tongue in cheek aspects behind them “You’re a damn good cop Bernie but just the same you’re all wet In one way cops are all the same They blame the wrong things Crime isn’t a disease it’s a symptom Cops are like a doctor that gives you aspirin for a brain tumor except that the cop would rather cure it with a blackjack We’re a big tough rich wild people and crime is the price we pay for it and organized crime is the price we pay for organization We’ll have it with us for a long time Organized crime is just the dirty side of the sharp dollar”“What’s the clean side?”“I never saw it Let’s have a drink”Through this tale we get a dose of the metaphor for the detective as a cynical but good hearted agent who strives to address the social ills of corruption and greed with truth and justice But here the heroic aspects are infused with the tragic element of impotence in the face of rank consumerism and selfishness in society in the early 50s Altman as the director of the movie version in 1973 starring Elliot Gould as a surprise highlighted the existential and chaotic aspects of this outlook and put a Don uixote like aspect to Marlowe’s tilting at windmills When it comes to Raymond Chandler’s novels starring the smart ass misanthropic PI Phillip Marlowe there’s The Long Goodbye and then there's everything else Chandler ever wrote—and it’s a long lonely drive in between The Big Sleep Farwell My Lovely and The Little Sister are all seminal works of the hard boiled genre too be sure; and on any other day of the week each is its own fuel injected suicide machine; but in a bare knuckled brawl these books are packing wet noodles for arms when they walk into the Thunderdome and go up against the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla that is The Long GoodbyeI was worried going into this book on account of one of my most loved and worshipped novels of all time James Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss is in part based off of this book Crumley has said than once in interviews that every good idea he had he stole from Raymond Chandler Luckily these two novels are very separate beasts; while both feature plot threads involving alcoholic asshole authors they go their own separate heart stomping waysIf put on the spot for a fortune cookie summarization of the two books I’d say the The Last Good Kiss is about the fleeting temporality of love and the lingering heaviness of its loss while The Long Goodbye than anything is a slow burning rumination on the nature of friendshipIn the earlier novels all the events transpire usually under 48 hours with Marlowe getting assigned a case in the first few pages and then finding the first in a long trail of dead bodies by page 20 The Long Goodbye begins with a jarring but lovely change of pacing and tone with Marlowe forging a chance friendship with a charming loser of a war veteran Weeks and months pass before the first body shows up around the fifty page mark and it’s not until somewhere around the 100 page mark that the first signs of a case actually appearFor a certain breed of mystery reader this will probably sound like a terrible prospect but then again I am a different kind of mystery reader I believe the genre can be a powerful medium for morality tales that can tackle all sorts of issues that I find important ie the nature of good and evil mortality social injustice the fallible nature of the American dream and can be written in prose that is subtle poetic and painful Bottom line I consider mystery novels—when they are truly well written and truly about something—as important as any other well cherished work of literatureI don’t really have it in me to try and give you a zesty teaser on the plot of this novel some hokey hook that’ll make you say “Gee Wiz” and click on the want to read button This book tired me emotionally and I mean that in the best possible way So I’m going to take my curtain call with this last bit if you are a reader who loves a layered complex story with characters whose motivations are hidden behind the veil of what is being said at any moment including—in fact especially—the narrator Marlowe if you enjoy a book that actually reuires you to actively read then this is a book I’d recommend Rest assured there are murders and criminals and femme fatales and tough talk and shady characters and two timing lovers and dirty cops and mysteries intertwined with mysteries but all that’s just the icing on top What’s underneath is where things get good “I was as hollow and empty as the spaces between stars” ― Raymond Chandler The Long GoodbyeLabels like genius and masterpiece get thrown around a lot in the arts Certain writers are deemed to be brilliant and yet their stars fade uickly Their notable books are soon forgotten misplaced unread and eventually pulped Other writers seem to have the opposite trajectory They are viewed as pulp or genre writers but over time they seem to transcend the genre and even seem to dance on the graves of labels They are iconic Raymond Chandler is one of those later writersHe is one of the Holy Trinity of detective novelists along with Dashiell Hammett and James M Cain These are the men who built the hard boiled noir house that everyone else lives in He is a god and a poet His dialogue seems to have just fallen directly from the swollen lips of a trash talking demiurge His novels are both the burn and the bush His prose is both the wilderness and the mountain He can kill off the Alpha and seduce the Omega before you recognize your own face in the cracked mirror I can't think of a modern writer of detective or crime fiction that shouldn't be paying Chander's heirs some form of rent I can't imagine a writer who wants to include a gun and a woman and a detective in a novel NOT consulting Chandler's novels for hints of inspiration Obviously I adore the genre and the writer but even if I work hard to remove my own biases it is difficult to walk away from 'The Long Goodbye' without recognizing what a gift was thrown at our underserving flat feet

The Long Goodbye eBook ç The Long  PDF/EPUB ²
  • Paperback
  • 379 pages
  • The Long Goodbye
  • Raymond Chandler
  • English
  • 14 March 2014
  • 9780394757681