Wednesday, June 29, 2011

One more!

Wahoo!  I can add another candle to my reading challenge cake.

I managed to find a Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye at the library.  I enjoyed this very much.  It's hard to believe - since I'm such a mystery fan - but I've never read anything but a short story by this author. 

Reading this novel was definitely a bit of time travel .  It was like stepping into a black and white movie with great dialog.  In fact the wittiness almost took over the story.  I got so engrossed in how clever Chandler was with his words that I forgot - several times - that I was actually following a plot.  That plot was quite thin, really, and I had it figured out long before the end. 

But the characters - and the clothes.  A lot of description kept me thinking 'movie set' and then I'd think Smithsonian.  Of course, there's a museum-ish quality to the novel for me reading it today.  But I remember clearly when all men wore suits, shirts and ties unless they were mucking out the barn.  And some of the older men wore shirts and jackets then, too.  Men in this world  carried a functional handkerchief along with their gun.  And always wore a hat. 

Since the story is set in Hollywood of the '50's, the ladies had some pretty great outfits, too.  All the women were beautiful and wore jewels, furs and movie-star duds.  I think I could these characters as being played by several of the actresses of the day.   No one was fat; no one was less than pretty. 

Except the cops, of course.  And the Mexican servants.  I found the class divide a bit startling even though I wasn't shocked or surprised.  We're not very used to reading such blatant racism, either, these days.  Not that it's not present in society.  It's just not part of our PC vocabulary. 

Would I read another Chandler?  Yes.  But I have to digest this one first.  The richness of the writing is cloying in a way.  I admire his ability to paint such detailed scenes with words, but I know I prefer the leaner prose of today's writers.  It was fun to frolic in the warmth of a California - and a way of life - that has long been gone.  Even though I never lived there and most of it was as made up as the movies, there were lots of occasions when nostalgia took over. 

Not a bad read for my 4th candle...


Ginny said...

I have never read any of his books, did they make movies out of any? I have heard of this book, it's pretty famous...yes, I remember the men's hats, and to this day Phil still carries a big handkerchief from time to time. Those days are gone with the wind I guess...

Rudee said...

I admire your tenacity with this reading project.

I'm not surprised a mystery fan would figure out the plot ASAP. Sometimes that makes the rest of the book tough to continue.

EmptyNester said...

I like a book that gives lots of descriptive details so that I can feel as though I'm right there!

Mimi said...

I imagine it must have been hard going at times, so well done on finishing it.
Love the sound of the glamorous women, I'd enjoy their outfits as I love clothes from that era. But the racism? No thanks. I do agree with you, though,that it is present in today's society, just not in our PC vocabulary.

SELVIDGE by Rachida S said...

I love reading a great book that you can become engrossed in. My last read was Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. It was such a powerful book (don't tell anyone, but I sobbed my head off) that I'm still recovering from it :) Happy reading :D

April said...

I've never read anything by Raymond Chandler. I admire your stick-to-itiveness as well. Wide Sargasso Sea is on my TBR list for this year.

anjoe playhouse said...

My father liked reading Chandler back in the 1960' (and later), the "english" versions, just like many other books, most crimies. He was a american-freek, so to speek, and having his littlesister and her family living many years near by N.Y.City, and later my oldest brother - who now can celebrate 40 years over there, but in Texas; he did recieve lots of books, also about arts etc.
My husband and I have also enjoyed Chandler, but in danish :-D
Take good care dear blogfriend, I'm afraid your yarn will makes to much fun with you *LOL*


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