Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bookworming: Farewell My Lovely

Farewell My Lovely, Raymond Chandler, ***
Starting with the obvious caveats: this is a pulp novel from 1940, there is racism, sexism, homophobia, smoking, and whatever else you might expect from a novel of the time. If you find that a distraction or can't view it in that context, then keep moving.

Chandler's second Philip Marlowe novel somehow manages to be both better written and less interesting than The Big Sleep. The plot doesn't cohere until the very last moments of the novel, and barely even then. Marlowe is the only character with more than one dimension, and even his motivation is pretty thin. However, the story is buoyed by the iconic noir flavor and some truly excellent descriptive writing. I am calling it three stars, but just barely. If you are a fan of the writer, the character, or the genre, there is meat on this bone, but if you aren't, you might be better off elsewhere.

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