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The High Window Paperback – July 12, 1988
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“[Chandler] wrote as if pain hurt and life mattered.” --The New Yorker
“Chandler seems to have created the culminating American hero: wised up, hopeful, thoughtful, adventurous, sentimental, cynical and rebellious.” --Robert B. Parker, The New York Times Book Review
“Philip Marlowe remains the quintessential urban private eye.” --Los Angeles Times
“Nobody can write like Chandler on his home turf, not even Faulkner. . . . An original. . . . A great artist.” —The Boston Book Review
“Raymond Chandler was one of the finest prose writers of the twentieth century. . . . Age does not wither Chandler’s prose. . . . He wrote like an angel.” --Literary Review
“[T]he prose rises to heights of unselfconscious eloquence, and we realize with a jolt of excitement that we are in the presence of not a mere action tale teller, but a stylist, a writer with a vision.” --Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books
“Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence.” —Ross Macdonald
“Raymond Chandler is a star of the first magnitude.” --Erle Stanley Gardner
“Raymond Chandler invented a new way of talking about America, and America has never looked the same to us since.” --Paul Auster
“[Chandler]’s the perfect novelist for our times. He takes us into a different world, a world that’s like ours, but isn’t. ” --Carolyn See
Top Customer Reviews
by Raymond Chandler
Window" begins one hot day in Pasadena, when "everything
that grew was perfectly still in the breathless air they get over
there on what they call a nice cool day." If we don't know we are
in a Philip Marlowe novel yet, we do as soon as we meet his new
client--a wealthy, obese widow named Mrs. Murdock. From the
overgrown, dimly-lit sun room where she holds court, she gives Marlowe
his latest p.i. assignment. He's to find a rare coin, the Brasher
Doubloon, that was stolen from her possession. He's also to find her
daughter-in-law, a former nightclub singer named Linda Conquest, who
disappeared at the same time as the coin. "A charming girl--and
tough as an oak board," Mrs. Murdock tells him, through sips of
Marlowe's search for the pair leads to a tale more dense
and tangled than the thick foliage of his client's sun porch. He
quickly finds himself enmeshed with a rich gambler and his
philandering, showgirl wife; a thug with a frozen eye; and a mortician
who delves into politics. Marlowe also has to contend with the police
and a man in a sand-colored coupé who keeps tailing him. Then there
are the corpses that keep piling up in his path. There's also his
client, who has her own share of tightly-bound secrets. A
near-invalid who spends her days lying on a reed chaise lounge,
Mrs. Murdock still holds an iron grip on her effeminate son and the
fragile woman who works as her secretary.
The plot is fast-paced
and engrossing, but the real power of the novel lies in the snappy
dialogue and beautifully conveyed atmosphere.Read more ›
"The High Window" (the third) is the anomaly of the first batch because it is the only novel prior to "The Little Sister" that was written as a novel; "The Big Sleep," "Farewell My Lovely," and "The Lady in the Lake" were all built using three to four of Chandler's earlier pulp short stories. Chandler called this practice "cannibalizing."
Chandler actually put aside the third cannibalized novel, "Lady in the Lake," to work on "The High Window." It's plot is only slightly less convoluted than the other three early novels, and it is slightly contrived, but what is interesting is the way in which it deliberately re-emphasizes concerns developed in its predecessor, "Farewell, My Lovely." Chandler was pressed to make sense of a detective with so much cultural capital and the ability to turn such a fantastic phrase, and in these two novels the emphasis is on developing Marlowe's class animosities and his determination to preserve the free-agency afforded him by his vocation. He comes across as a relative high-brow determined to take out his sense of failure on those who pretend to be his betters, and who employ him, but who are phonies. It is a novel about class and about Marlowe working to control the exploitation inherent in hiring himself out.
It may not be the best of the early four novels, but "The High Window" provides a clear and deliberate vision of Chandler's original conception of Marlowe.Read more ›
In this outing, Chandler is hired by a rich woman to track down a missing coin. The woman assumes that a misbehaving family member has run off with it, but of course the story ends up far more complex than that and Marlowe wends his way through gritty LA streets in search of the truth.
Marlowe's penchant for doing the right thing is even more in evidence here, as he works to help out characters that many times don't realize they need help. He does it not for fame or fortune, but because it's the right thing to do.
Chandler's writing style shines with its usual brilliance, and he crafts his characters with an easy hand. He has brought Marlowe along from his initial hard-drinking despair into a detective who - buoyed with past successes - is now more comfortable with himself and taking better care of himself. The wit crackles, and the novel is as enjoyable and entertaining as anything Chandler has written.
The High Window, unlike a lot of genre Private Detective stories, which so many other authors have spent lifetimes struggling to copy and coming up short, keeps you guessing until the very end. Some authors give you a nibble about half way through a story and it falls apart in your lap and you figure it out. The High Window defies that solidly. You will be guessing about this one until the very end. Nothing is done ham-handedly or over-quick just to wrap it up either. This book could serve as a role model to other authors about how to write an ending, as I'm sure it has -- even if you don't write Detective Noir fiction.
If you're reading this review and a certain Humphrey Bogart film brought you here, and you don't know much about Raymond Chandler, just know that he was and is considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century. During his lifetime however he was dismissed as just a regular struggling hack novelist, because of the Genre, and not given a lot of attention. A lot of other authors, like Philip K. Dick for instance, another Angelino, suffered greatly under this prejudice during their lifetime because of supposed conventionalities. Sometimes, looking back you just have to wonder if it really was a West Coast prejudice, where anything outside of the New York circle of authors was thought worthless, or the critics just didn't have enough insight into life. Probably both.
The High Window moves very quickly, very smoothly, never misses a beat or falls flat for a single page.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Philip Marlowe is hired by Mrs. Murdock to find a rare coin, a Brasher Doubloon, and, she hopes to give grounds for a divorce for her son, from his wife of a year. Read morePublished 13 hours ago by Amazon Customer
No one writes as well as Raymond Chandler. He never disappoints. His evocation of the times; descriptions of place and the emotion attached to place; depth of characters and... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Pepe Wolf
If you ever tire of modern crime thrillers and wish to get back to basics, when private detectives had few gadgets, read Raymond Chandler. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Robert Alan McDougall
Like all the Marlowe books, the plot is convoluted and hard to follow. A coin is stolen, and Marlowe is called in to get it back. Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Jorgenson
Porter's rendition is not only one of the best readings of Chandler (so much better, for example, than Elliot Gould's tired and flat recordings) but one of the best audio books... Read morePublished 2 months ago by WAM
Still loving my deep dive into Raymond Chandler's work! Made for some intelligent beach reading, if you love mysteries and the noir style.Published 2 months ago by Janet K. Nabring-Stager