Monday, 21 December 2015

Book Review | The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am slow on the uptake of some classics and this one is no different. And I'm glad to say it's another off the 1001 list! I am still making my way through and according to the app, I should finish them all before I die!

On to the book. I liked Chandler's writing style, it flows nicely and it was a quick enjoyable read. I love Robert Crais' Elvis Cole series and it is easy to see the influence that Chandler (as I'm sure Hammett has too), has had on modern crime writers. Originally published in 1939, The Big Sleep holds up well as a novel, I didn't feel like I was reading something completely alien, although it's possible not quite as bloody and violent as we are used to today.

I will say, the racism, sexism and homophobia pulled me out of the story (but I think that goes to show that Chandler's work is still accessible to modern crime readers). I had a couple of pauses, 'Did he just say fag?' Ah yep, ok. And yes, let's slap the vulnerable girl, that'll fix things *eye roll* Reading something from this era, I need to remind myself that although it's not right, this was common place thinking.

It may be frustrating for some to read, but I don't agree with removing or editing works that have offensive material, (Huck Finn and Magic Faraway Tree are two examples). I don't think it does anyone any good to pretend that racism, homophobia, sexism didn't exist, it's important to read stories how the author intended and move on from there & hopefully learn from it, especially when we ask children to study these texts in school.

Overall, I enjoyed The Big Sleep. Like I said, it was an easy Sunday afternoon read, I laughed, I groaned and I read it in one sitting. One of things I've been asking myself each time I finish a book from the list - Was this book worthy of a spot on the list and would I read another of his books? And it's yes to both.

Until next time, happy reading :)


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