In a Very Noir L.A.

new 1001My trip to California to get my C author done was a delight. There was a lot of drinking, and people getting sapped, and many descriptions of hats. Here’s my Goodreads review:

Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2)Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was a warm day, almost the end of March, and I stood outside the barbershop looking up at the jutting neon sign of a second floor dine and dice emporium called Florian’s. A man was looking up at the sign too. He was looking up at the dusty windows with a sort of ecstatic fixity of expression, like a hunky immigrant catching his first sight of the Statue of Liberty. He was a big man but not more than six feet five inches tall and not wider than a beer truck. He was about ten feet away from me. His arms hung loose at his sides and a forgotten cigar smoked behind his enormous fingers.

…The doors swung back outwards and almost settled to a stop. Before they had entirely stopped moving they opened again, violently, outwards. Something sailed across the sidewalk and landed in the gutter between two parked cars. It landed on its hands and knees and made a high keening noise like a cornered rat. It got up slowly, retrieved a hat and stepped back onto the sidewalk. It was a thin, narrow-shouldered brown youth in a lilac colored suit and a carnation. It had slick black hair. It kept its mouth open and whined for a moment. People stared at it vaguely. Then it settled its hat jauntily, sidled over to the wall and walked silently splay-footed off along the block.

Silence. Traffic resumed. I walked along to the double doors and stood in front of them. They were motionless now. It wasn’t any of my business. So I pushed them open and looked in.

With writing like this, how can you not enjoy a nice noir mystery? Farewell, My Lovely is a brilliant effort from Raymond Chandler, and definitely deserves its place on the 1001 Books list. Marlowe is smart but not smart enough not to get hurt, or end up with a bout of the DTs, but you want him to succeed in his quest to figure out what is going on in the situation he links himself to inextricably by pushing these doors open to look in. He makes wry and witty observations about life, pisses off most of the people he meets, and knows a decent person when I encounters one.

I have always enjoyed Robert B. Parker‘s Spenser, and he is clearly modeled on Marlowe. It is no surprise that Parker at one point finished an unfinished Chandler novel. He was the right man to do it, but nothing equals the original. Chandler’s voice and eye for detail are flawless. He has a marvelous sense of pacing and creates delicious characters to play out his drama. He even quotes a little Shakespeare when you least expect it. I feel crazy giving this 5 stars when I’ve given so many other excellent books just 4, but this is the best of a genre, so it gets all 5.

Updated score sheet for the year:

Around the World (goal: 52 total including at least 6 in each of 6 different regions) 3
Asia/Mideast: 1 (Israel)
Europe: 1 (England/UK)
Caribbean/Central America/North America: 1 (US)
South America:

Around the US (goal: 50 states, DC, and PR): 2 (CA, NY)

1001 Books (goal 52): 3

A to Z challenge (must be completed in order 26 author last names A to Z then 26 titles A to Z–strategy is all!): 3
Authors: Auster, Beinart, Chandler

About Beth Parks Aronson

I am Director of the Lamar University Psychology Clinic and run the clinical track of the Applied Psychology Masters Program. Previously, I was a psychologist in private practice in Jenkintown, PA where I specialized in anxiety disorders and working with people living with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. I am a little addicted to good literature. Ok, a lot addicted.
This entry was posted in 1001 Books, Around the US 2013, Books, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to In a Very Noir L.A.

  1. vanbraman says:

    You have a good start on your A to Z challenge. I am curious to see what you will read next in this one. I haven’t read this one by Chandler yet, but it is on my 1001 list. I want to get my 1001 list total to 400 by the end of the year.

  2. Pingback: Farewell, My Lovely – Raymond Chandler | 1001 Books to Read Before You Die

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s