05 August 2013

The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett, and The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler

Both totally fantastic, but in somewhat different ways. It's amazing that I've loved film noir for as long as I have, and yet never tried reading any of the books. Predictably, I loved them. The Hammett is delightfully light-hearted; a comedy of manners with a little crime thrown in. The Chandler is dark and brooding, but with these incredible taut and lyrical sentences (perhaps my favorite: "her face like scraped bone."). Both of them involve plenty of drinking and smoking and and wise guys and brassy dames (though the Hammett is especially wonderful for having an affectionate and loving husband-and-wife team, Nick and Nora), and somewhat convoluted plots with surprising twists and turns, and both are fairly quick reads. Much recommended.

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