Raymond Chandler: The big sleep

Den lange søvn // The big sleep by Raymond Chandler
Published by People’s Press in 2013 // Originally in 1939

Nonchalante butlers, hysteriske pigebørn, hårdkogte gangstertyper – die ganze Schweinerei.

Den lange søvn var Raymond Chandlers debut og første roman i krimiserien om den hardboiled, insisterende privatdetektiv, Philip Marlowe. Jeg ved, at Jacob Hinchely er inkarneret Marlowe-fan, og det var faktisk hans (næsten barnlige) entusiasme, som æggede mig til endelig at gribe bøgerne. Dét og det faktum, at jeg fandt dem til 30 bobs hos min lokale bogpusher.

Som sagt: Klassisk detektivroman. Og selvom jeg nød fløjlsbløde formuleringer som disse, forstyrrede mange elementer min oplevelse: 1) Akavet oversættelse 2) horribel korrektur 3) seriøs homofobi 4) skide forvirrende plot.

Om punkt et og to siger jeg blot: Get your shit together, People’s Press. Og mens homofobien først gik mig voldsomt på, indså jeg efterhånden, at man må læse romanen som et udtryk for sin tid og fejre, hvor langt vi er kommet siden.

Plottet er forbandet udfordrende at følge. Men selve opklaringsarbejdet fremstår faktisk sekundært i forhold til Marlowe-karakteren og hans metoder. Han er romanens egentlige stjerne. Som læsende menneske i en procedure-fokuseret, plot twist-forherligende, gådeløsnings-higende krimiverden, kan dén fordeling potentielt vække ambivalente følelser. Jeg var fan. Særligt efter Murakami-efterordet, som legitimerede min vildrede.

Andre der har meninger om Chandler, Marlowe eller krimigenren generelt?

Nonchalant butlers, hysterical girls, hardboiled gangsters – die ganze Schweinerei.

The big sleep was Raymond Chandler’s debut and the first novel in the crime series of the hardboiled, insisting private detective, Philip Marlowe. I know for a fact Jacob Hinchely is a confirmed Marlowe fan, and it was actually his (almost childlike) enthusiasm that urged me to finally seize the books. That and the fact that I got them for 30 bucks at my local book pusher.

As I said: Classic detective novel. And although I enjoyed Chandler’s often velvety wordings, many elements interrupted my experience: 1) Awkward translation 2) horrible proofing 3) serious homophobia 4) damn confusing plot.

On point one and two, I’ll simply say: Get your shit together, People’s Press. And while the homophobia bothered me tremendously at first, I eventually realized that you must read the novel as an expression of its time and celebrate how far we have come since.

The plot is freaking impossible to follow. But, actually, the investigative work seems secondary compared to the Marlowe character and his methods. He is the true star of the novel. As a reader in a procedure-focused, plot twist-glorifying, puzzle-craving crime world, this sort of focus could potentially arouse ambivalent feelings. I was a fan. Especially after the Murakami postscript had legitimized my bewilderment by revealing that not even Chandler himself knew who killed the chauffeur – and he didn’t really seem to care either.

Anyone else with opinions on Chandler, Marlowe or the crime genre in general?

Leave a Reply