Sunday 21 November 2010

Orchids, corruption and literature

My father grows orchids and I took this picture last time we visited my parents. I have been wanting to put it here for a while to accompany this quote I have been wanting to put on this blog. It is from The Big Sleep. I read the original classic of Raymond Chandler fifteen years ago in cégep in its French translation. I want to read it again in its original language. I do not remember exactly what was written in the novel, but in the movie the quote goes like this:

"Sternwood: I seem to exist largely on heat, like a newborn spider. The orchids are an excuse for the heat. Do you like orchids? 
Marlowe: Not particularly. 
Sternwood: Nasty things! Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, and their perfume has the rotten sweetness of corruption."

Evidence that crime fiction can also be genuine literature. Orchids can be quite creepy plants if you think about it: their flowers have something ophidian or arachnoid. I never thought they smelt much of anything, but their beauty has indeed something nasty.  


Anonymous said...

Nero Wolfe

Guillaume said...

Thanks. Yes there is also Nero Wolfe who is fond of orchids, a character I actually blogged about before.