So it probably would have been useful to have seen Book Riot’s post for people reading Raymond Chandler for the first time before I started, but I made it through.
Chandler’s novels were everything I expected them to be. Phillip Marlowe is like a hard-boiled Virgil navigating a hell full of dangerous damsels, racketeers and crooked cops. So far, every case is smokescreen hiding something far more sinister. Despite Marlowe’s cynical veneer, he’s made of strong moral stuff that makes him incorruptible.
If there is an immediate criticism, it would be that Chandler’s work is sprinkled with some gender and racial prejudices, but considering that these books were originally published in the 40’s, it’s not surprising.
I read three of them so far; The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely and The High Window.
I could practically see cigarette smoke curling out from between the paragraphs. Climbing the walls. Really not the best read for people trying to quit.
With all drinking that was being done I was surprised that Marlowe was able to keep his wits about him to solve the cases at hand.
The Ruined Map
After reading Chandler, The Ruined Map by Kobo Abe was a bit of a mind trip.
The private investigator, who is never named, is commissioned to find a missing husband.
Then things start to get a little weird. The ‘clues’ he is given are a matchbox, a photograph and some dubious testimonies. It becomes clear that the narrator is not quite as equipped to navigate the hellish labyrinth when the story descends into a surrealistic nightmare.
“This blackness I am seeking is after all is merely my own self…my own map, revealed by my brain.”
It’s one of those novels that you have really sit and think about when you’re done. Only to realise that you’re going to have relive the terror again.