I wouldn't have said it was padded, per se. I would say it was, um, loosely constructed. And badly plotted. I do completely agree with you that it is horribly sentimental. It always mystifies me that so many readers think it is Chandler's best book rather than Farewell, My Lovely....a novel that, to my mind, does a much better job of merging tenderness with ugly subject matter (the short stories that FML is taken from are perhaps better still). To be more heretical, I even prefer The Little Sister to Long Goodbye.
As to the comparison of Chandler and Hammett - the eternal, joyous argument- I again come down on the side that Chandler never wrote as badly as Hammett could, but also never wrote as well. To my mind, The Glass Key is even better than Falcon. I think that The Glass Key is literature with an "L" and stands with any book of that decade....it's a jolly sight better than To Have And Have Not, for instance.
----- Original Message -----
From: Jack Bludis
Sent: Wednesday, November 03, 2010 17:50
Subject: RARA-AVIS: "The Long Goodbye" -- More heresy
>>I recently re-read "The Long Goodbye." When I finished reading it, I managed to find the movie on-line.My heresy? The movie makes more sense than the book.<<
And it elicited some response as to what I meant.
James Michael Rogers said:
> I'm assuming that he means the plot and mystery in Long Goodbye is a convoluted mess and that the movie had to clean that up a bit just to make it fit into the time format.<
JMR was almost right in interpreting what I said--but not quite.
Damn the time frame to fit the movie. For me, the book was a mess. It was full of characters who seemed to be there as space fillers--padding if you will.
The book itself, in my opinion, made only moderate sense from the opening, although Chandler wrote such brilliant prose that he keeps us reading.
There were too many long political-philosophical passages that didn't quite fit the theme, although some of such passages did.
The book felt padded to me.
The movie was more hard boiled that what I perceived as the extreme sentimentality of the book.
All that being said, I still believe Chandler is the best of the hard-boiled writers--although I again say, "The Maltese Falcon" is the best of the hard-boiled novels.
"Shadow of the Dahlia," a Shamus finalist novel at Amazon.com
and BarnesandNoble.com New edition trade-paper, Kindle, and Nook
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