"It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display a handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue socks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed detective ought to be. I was calling on four millions dollars."
Philip Marlowe, describing himself and his environment in The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler.
The books we re-read are more important than the ones we read. This is the case for me right now, as I had been wanting to revisit this crime fiction classic for ages, since I had read it the first time in college/cégep in our class of American literature. Now I am reading it solely out of pleasure, and in the original language. The start of the novel is still pure hardboiled crime fiction bliss and maybe the best the genre ever gave. There were private eyes before, but none truly defined the genre like Marlowe did. I might blog about the novel more in the weeks to come, right now I just wanted to share its first few lines, because they are that good. I also wanted to encourage my readers to discover or rediscover The Big Sleep.
Daniel Johnson a-t-il été assassiné?
42 minutes ago