Book Review – Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

Summary

Marlowe’s about to give up on a completely routine case when he finds himself in the wrong place at the right time to get caught up in a murder that leads to a ring of jewel thieves, another murder, a fortune-teller, a couple more murders, and more corruption than your average graveyard.

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Farewell, My Lovely is the second novel by Raymond Chandler that follows the hardboiled Philip Marlowe, who works as a private detective in Los Angeles in the late 1930s. Marlowe, though not the first of his kind, feels like the quintessential pulp/noir detective character. He’s intelligent, tough, heavy-drinking, wise-cracking, desired by women, and yet a loner in his personal life. At the same time, the novel has a certain humanity to it that made it unique while towing the genre’s lines.Read More »

Book Review – Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

Lionel Essrog is Brooklyn’s very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in startling and original ways. Together with three veterans of St. Vincent’s Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna’s limo service cum detective agency. When Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel’s colleagues lands in jail, and the other two vie for his position, and the victim’s widow skips town, Lionel’s world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head.

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First published in 1999, Motherless Brooklyn is a postmodern homage to classic detective fiction, with its own particular twist thanks to Lionel’s condition. While it stands as a good piece of the genre on its own, what I found most intriguing about the novel, probably unsurprisingly, was Lionel’s Tourette’s. The narrative is told from a first person perspective, so we get a rather deep, personal look at what having the condition is like for him as he moves through life and tries to solve the case while at the mercy of his prominent tics.Read More »