Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Big Sleep

I had mentioned in my KL post about Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep.

I had been wanting to read Raymond Chandler for a long time but this was the first time I got my hands on one of his titles.

Finding the book was a stroke of luck as I got consumed with the novel on my way back and the 5 hour journey passed like a sweet second. I had lounged myself in the lower deck of the bus on a sofa, all alone, and did have a marvellous time with the novel's protagonist detective Philip Marlowe. Others, as I could see, were enjoying a Hollywood regular such as 13 Going On 30.

Now it is generally rare that a novel will hold my undivided attention for such a long time. After all, there are only a handful of works that past muster my lazy and overly demanding literary taste buds. This one did, and in the next five days, I could finish reading it on the bus rides between home and office (If I forgot to pack my The World is Flat by T Friedman in my office backpack), in the restroom or on the bed just before going to sleep if my daughter had not tired me out.

The language of the narrative is exquisite and superbly crafted. This kind of deft handling of the language is uncommon. Above all, it is an entertaining read, and Chandler packs a lot of fun through Marlowe's observations. If I had time I would have quoted some of the sentences here but let's save it for the future.

One interersting thing was, while reading the novel, I was constantly thinking of Jack Nicholson from China Town, and not Humphrey Bogart (Howard Howkes made it a Hollywood film in 1946 with Bogart and Bacall, screenplay was by William Faulkner). Strange, isn't it?

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