April 08, 2020
Sacred Reads: The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
The Long Goodbye is considered by many to be Raymond Chandler's finest novel. Those who are not familiar with his work might assume Chandler penned merely hard-boiled crime fiction, typical of the 1940s and 1950s, but Chandler's prose transcends the popular pulp fiction of the era and whilst Philip Marlowe, the private detective who appears in all of Chandler's novels, is certainly hard drinking, tough and has some smart one liners, he exudes integrity and honour. However, although it's certainly a pleasure to read, The Long Goodbye has been chosen today firstly because it put the gimlet firmly back on the cocktail map and, secondly, for Chandler's luminous - romantic, even - descriptions of drinking and people who like drinking. “I like bars just after they open for the evening. When the air inside is still cool and clean and everything is shiny and the barkeep is giving himself that last look in the mirror to see if his tie is straight and his hair is smooth. I like the neat bottles on the bar back and the lovely shining glasses and the anticipation."