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Farewell My Lovely (Anglais) Broché – 1 août 1992

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--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché.

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It was one of the mixed blocks over on Central Avenue, the blocks that are not yet all Negro. I had just come out of a three-chair barber shop where an agency thought a relief barber named Dimitrios Aleidis might be working. It was a small matter. His wife said she was willing to spend a little money to have him come home.

I never found him, but Mrs. Aleidis never paid me any money either.

It was a warm day, almost the end of March, and I stood outside the barber shop looking up at the jutting neon sign of a second floor dine and dice emporium called Florian's. A man was looking up at the sign too. He was looking up at the dusty windows with a sort of ecstatic fixity of expression, like a hunky immigrant catching his first sight of the Statue of Liberty. He was a big man but not more than six feet five inches tall and not wider than a beer truck. He was about ten feet away from me. His arms hung loose at his sides and a forgotten cigar smoked behind his enormous fingers.

Slim quiet Negroes passed up and down the street and stared at him with darting side glances. He was worth looking at. He wore a shaggy borsalino hat, a rough gray sports coat with white golf balls on it for buttons, a brown shirt, a yellow tie, pleated gray flannel slacks and alligator shoes with white explosions on the toes. From his outer breast pocket cascaded a show handkerchief of the same brilliant yellow as his tie. There were a couple of colored feathers tucked into the band of his hat, but he didn't really need them. Even on Central Avenue, not the quietest dressed street in the world, he looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.

His skin was pale and he needed a shave. He would always need a shave. He had curly black hair and heavy eyebrows that almost met over his thick nose. His ears were small and neat for a man of that size and his eyes had a shine close to tears that gray eyes often seem to have. He stood like a statue, and after a long time he smiled.

He moved slowly across the sidewalk to the double swinging doors which shut off the stairs to the second floor. He pushed them open, cast a cool expressionless glance up and down the street, and moved inside. If he had been a smaller man and more quietly dressed, I might have thought he was going to pull a stick-up. But not in those clothes, and not with that hat, and that frame.

The doors swung back outwards and almost settled to a stop. Before they had entirely stopped moving they opened again, violently, outwards. Something sailed across the sidewalk and landed in the gutter between two parked cars. It landed on its hands and knees and made a high keening noise like a cornered rat. It got up slowly, retrieved a hat and stepped back onto the sidewalk. It was a thin, narrow-shouldered brown youth in a lilac colored suit and a carnation. It had slick black hair. It kept its mouth open and whined for a moment. People stared at it vaguely. Then it settled its hat jauntily, sidled over to the wall and walked silently splay-footed off along the block.

Silence. Traffic resumed. I walked along to the double doors and stood in front of them. They were motionless now. It wasn't any of my business. So I pushed them open and looked in.

A hand I could have sat in came out of the dimness and took hold of my shoulder and squashed it to a pulp. Then the hand moved me through the doors and casually lifted me up a step. The large face looked at me. A deep soft voice said to me, quietly:

"Smokes in here, huh? Tie that for me, pal."

It was dark in there. It was quiet. From up above came vague sounds of humanity, but we were alone on the stairs. The big man stared at me solemnly and went on wrecking my shoulder with his hand.

"A dinge," he said. "I just thrown him out. You seen me throw him out?"

He let go of my shoulder. The bone didn't seem to be broken, but the arm was numb.

"It's that kind of a place," I said, rubbing my shoulder. "What did you expect?"

"Don't say that, pal," the big man purred softly, like four tigers after dinner. "Velma used to work here. Little Velma."

He reached for my shoulder again. I tried to dodge him but he was as fast as a cat. He began to chew my muscles up some more with his iron fingers.

"Yeah," he said. "Little Velma. I ain't seen her in eight years. You say this here is a dinge joint?"

I croaked that it was.

He lifted me up two more steps. I wrenched myself loose and tried for a little elbow room. I wasn't wearing a gun. Looking for Dimitrios Aleidis hadn't seemed to require it. I doubted if it would do me any good. The big man would probably take it away from me and eat it.

"Go on up and see for yourself," I said, trying to keep the agony out of my voice.

He let go of me again. He looked at me with a sort of sadness in his gray eyes. "I'm feelin' good," he said. "I wouldn't want anybody to fuss with me. Let's you and me go on up and maybe nibble a couple."

"They won't serve you. I told you it's a colored joint."

"I ain't seen Velma in eight years," he said in his deep sad voice. "Eight long years since I said good-by. She ain't wrote to me in six. But she'll have a reason. She used to work here. Cute she was. Let's you and me go on up, huh?"

"All right," I yelled. "I'll go up with you. Just lay off carrying me. Let me walk. I'm fine. I'm all grown up. I go to the bathroom alone and everything. Just don't carry me."

"Little Velma used to work here," he said gently. He wasn't listening to me.

We went on up the stairs. He let me walk. My shoulder ached. The back of my neck was wet.


Two more swing doors closed off the head of the stairs from whatever was beyond. The big man pushed them open lightly with his thumbs and we went into the room. It was a long narrow room, not very clean, not very bright, not very cheerful. In the corner a group of Negroes chanted and chattered in the cone of light over a crap table. There was a bar against the right hand wall. The rest of the room was mostly small round tables. There were a few customers, men and women, all Negroes.

The chanting at the crap table stopped dead and the light over it jerked out. There was a sudden silence as heavy as a water-logged boat. Eyes looked at us, chestnut colored eyes, set in faces that ranged from gray to deep black. Heads turned slowly and the eyes in them glistened and stared in the dead alien silence of another race.

A large, thick-necked Negro was leaning against the end of the bar with pink garters on his shirt sleeves and pink and white suspenders crossing his broad back. He had bouncer written all over him. He put his lifted foot down slowly and turned slowly and stared at us, spreading his feet gently and moving a broad tongue along his lips. He had a battered face that looked as if it had been hit by everything but the bucket of a dragline. It was scarred, flattened, thickened, checkered, and welted. It was a face that had nothing to fear. Everything had been done to it that anybody could think of.

The short crinkled hair had a touch of gray. One ear had lost the lobe.

The Negro was heavy and wide. He had big heavy legs and they looked a little bowed, which is unusual in a Negro. He moved his tongue some more and smiled and moved his body. He came towards us in a loose fighter's crouch. The big man waited for him silently.

The Negro with the pink garters on his arms put a massive brown hand against the big man's chest. Large as it was, the hand looked like a stud. The big man didn't move. The bouncer smiled gently.

"No white folks, brother. Jes' fo' the colored people. I'se sorry."

The big man moved his small sad gray eyes and looked around the room. His cheeks flushed a little. "Shine box," he said angrily, under his breath. He raised his voice. "Where's Velma at?" he asked the bouncer.

The bouncer didn't quite laugh. He studied the big man's clothes, his brown shirt and yellow tie, his rough gray coat and the white golf balls on it. He moved his thick head around delicately and studied all this from various angles. He looked down at the alligator shoes. He chuckled lightly. He seemed amused. I felt a little sorry for him. He spoke softly again.

"Velma, you says? No Velma heah, brother. No hooch, no gals, no nothing. Jes' the scram, white boy, jes' the scram."

"Velma used to work here," the big man said. He spoke almost dreamily, as if he was all by himself, out in the woods, picking johnny-jump-ups. I got my handkerchief out and wiped the back of my neck again.

The bouncer laughed suddenly. "Shuah," he said, throwing a quick look back over his shoulder at his public. "Velma used to work heah. But Velma don't work heah no mo'. She done reti'ed. Haw, haw."

"Kind of take your goddamned mitt off my shirt," the big man said.

The bouncer frowned. He was not used to being talked to like that. He took his hand off the shirt and doubled it into a fist about the size and color of a large eggplant. He had his job, his reputation for toughness, his public esteem to consider. He considered them for a second and made a mistake. He swung the fist very hard and short with a sudden outward jerk of the elbow and hit the big man on the side of the jaw. A soft sigh went around the room.

It was a good punch. The shoulder dropped and the body swung behind it. There was a lot of weight in that punch and the man who landed it had had plenty of practice. The big man didn't move his head more than an inch. He didn't try to block the punch. He took it, shook himself lightly, made a quiet sound in his throat and took hold of the bouncer by the throat.

The bouncer tried to knee him in the groin. The big man turned him in the air and slid his gaudy shoes apart on the scaly linoleum that covered the floor. He bent the bouncer backwards and shifted his right hand to the bouncer's belt. The belt broke like a piece of butcher's string. The big man put his enormous hands flat against the bouncer's spine and heaved. He threw him clear across the room, spinning and staggering and flailing with his arms. Three men jumped out of the way. The bouncer went over with a table and smacked into the baseboard with a crash that must have been heard in Denver. His legs twitched. Then he lay still.

"Some guys," the big man said, "has got wrong ideas about when to get tough." He turned to me. "Yeah," he said. "Let's you and me nibble one."

We went over to the bar. The customers, by ones and twos and threes, became quiet shadows that drifted soundless across the floor, soundless through the doors at the head of the stairs. Soundless as shadows on the grass. They didn't even let the doors swing.

We leaned against the bar. "Whiskey sour," the big man said. "Call yours."

"Whiskey sour," I said.

We had whiskey sours.

The big man licked his whiskey sour impassively down the side of the thick squat glass. He stared solemnly at the barman, a thin, worried-looking Negro in a white coat who moved as if his feet hurt him.

"You know where Velma is?"

"Velma, you says?" the barman whined. "I ain't seen her 'round heah lately. Not right lately, nossuh."

"How long you been here?"

"Let's see," the barman put his towel down and wrinkled his forehead and started to count on his fingers. "'Bout ten months, I reckon. 'Bout a yeah. 'Bout--"

"Make your mind up," the big man said.

The barman goggled and his Adam's apple flopped around like a headless chicken.

"How long's this coop been a dinge joint?" the big man demanded gruffly.

"Says which?"

The big man made a fist into which his whiskey sour glass melted almost out of sight.

"Five years anyway," I said. "This fellow wouldn't know anything about a white girl named Velma. Nobody here would."

The big man looked at me as if I had just hatched out. His whiskey sour hadn't seemed to improve his temper.

"Who the hell asked you to stick your face in?" he asked me.

I smiled. I made it a big warm friendly smile. "I'm the fellow that came in with you. Remember?"

He grinned back then, a flat white grin without meaning. "Whiskey sour," he told the barman. "Shake them fleas outa your pants. Service."

The barman scuttled around, rolling the whites of his eyes. I put my back against the bar and looked at the room. It was now empty, save for the barman, the big man and myself, and the bouncer crushed over against the wall. The bouncer was moving. He was moving slowly as if with great pain and effort. He was crawling softly along the baseboard like a fly with one wing. He was moving behind the tables, wearily, a man suddenly old, suddenly disillusioned. I watched him move. The barman put down two more whiskey sours. I turned to the bar. The big man glanced casually over at the crawling bouncer and then paid no further attention to him.

"There ain't nothing left of the joint," he complained. "They was a little stage and band and cute little rooms where a guy could have fun. Velma did some warbling. A redhead she was. Cute as lace pants. We was to of been married when they hung the frame on me."

I took my second whiskey sour. I was beginning to have enough of the adventure. "What frame?" I asked. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

"Raymond Chandler is a master." --The New York Times

“[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

--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 136 commentaires
69 internautes sur 75 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Improbable But Impressive Stuff 31 juillet 2002
Par Gary F. Taylor - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Raymond Chander's second novel is both more and less successful than his first. THE BIG SLEEP suffered from a plot that fell apart in midstream; FAREWELL, MY LOVELY, however, is much more consistent throughout. On the other hand, for all its twists and turns, THE BIG SLEEP was quite plausible; FAREWELL, MY LOVELY, however, is about as farfetched as you can get. But once again, such criticisms are almost beside the point: the great attraction is still Chandler's knock-you-flat prose, his tone of voice, his often imitated but seldom equaled style, and it is so powerful that it keeps you turning page after page after page.
In general, FAREWELL, MY LOVELY once more finds street-smart and super-savvy California P.I. Philip Marlowe sticking his nose where it has no business being--and when curiosity leads him to follow a massively built white man into a black nightclub he finds himself embroiled in a murder no one cares about solving... at least not until it begins to figure in what seems to be a completely different case with a high-society spin. And encounters with stolen jewels, a spiritualist racket, police corruption, and a gambling ship quickly follow.
Along the way Chandler again paints a gritty portrait of the seamy side of life. On this occasion, he takes a passing look at race, and makes the point that from a police point of view two standards apply: the authorities care nothing about the murder of a black man, but they treat a white man's murder very differently indeed. This portion of the novel is intrinsically controversial, for Chandler uses the slang and racial slurs common to the mean streets of his era--but it is worth noting that although Marlowe uses the same language, his attitude toward the blacks who appear in the novel is considerably different from that of the authorities, who could not care less about the murder of a black man who don't much care who knows it. And once again, Chandler graces his pages with dames and dandies, broads and bums--and he makes them live with remarkable vitality. The famous prose is as rich as ever, although noticeably less witty and quite a bit darker than that found in THE BIG SLEEP. We've stepped off the curb and into the gutter, Chandler seems to be saying, and we're walking in it all the way. Impressive stuff and a very entertaining read.
41 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
...stands out like a tarantula on a slice of angel food 15 mai 2001
Par thecastlebookroom - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Farewell My Lovely, Raymond Chandler's second novel in the Philip Marlowe series, transcends the genre it helped to create, and is now (deservedly) viewed by many as literature and as social criticism.
Chandler creates moods and telegraphs emotions via the poetic ramblings and outrageous similes from the mind of Philip Marlowe, the protagonist/detective/narrator who is picked up by the collar and dragged into a murder mystery that exposes not only the hypocrisy beneath the surface in the lifestyles of the rich and beautiful, but ultimately, the depravity of the human condition. And all of this is delivered with a caustic sense of humor, a wry wit, and a hypersensitivity to the visual world and it's translation into the language of the mean streets.
Although Chandler died shortly before I was born, I grew up in L.A., and I can say that the L.A. Chandler wrote of is in many ways the city of my childhood memories, so well did he capture the ambiance and ambivalence of the 'city of angels'.
Some have criticized his plotting and plausability, but emotion, action, and detail were what interested him the most, and in these he excelled. FAREWELL MY LOVELY must be viewed within the context of it's era (published in 1940) to be fully appreciated, but the flow of action, the visual aspect of it's language, and the insights into the very human conflict of corruption verses conscience are timeless.
This book, like the first in the Marlowe series (THE BIG SLEEP) was written at the height of Chandler's creative career, and exemplifies the style that has made him a writer's writer, possibly the most imitated author of the past century.
37 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Punching, and shooting, and boozing -- oh my! 15 juillet 2003
Par Andrew McCaffrey - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Raymond Chandler was such a master at his style of prose that you only have to read the first two paragraphs of FAREWELL, MY LOVELY to know exactly what sort of story you're in for. Those two paragraphs perfectly set up the plot that follows: a thriller crossing in and out of the racial divisions of 1940's Los Angeles involving seedy speakeasies, and off-shore gambling, with double-crossing as far as the eye can see. Wonderfully gritty stuff.
This particular Chandler novel has a lot going for it. The hero, Philip Marlowe, is as entertaining as ever. The setting is the familiar scene of other Chandler stories -- alive, heavy and oppressively Los Angeles. The plot is logical, but jumps around a lot, which is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the more it moves around, the more room Chandler has to incorporate evil-doings; I quite lost track of exactly how many crimes are committed or alluded to during the course of the book. No matter how farfetched it is, Chandler's prose is utterly gripping and absorbing.
I think Philip Marlowe must drink his weight in cheap liquor several times over during the course of this adventure, but you can't help but like the guy. He punches, he shoots, he boozes. He even solves the case by the end. He sure takes a beating in this one, but he keeps coming back for more. He's everything a pulp detective should be - angry, arrogant, determined, and with just a hint of pathos to make him interesting enough to carry the story.
The book as a whole is just too appealing and entertaining not to be a fun experience. Chandler is pretty much the benchmark for these sorts of stories about guns, police, and corruption, so if you like the genre, you might as well read the man who invented it. Tough guys yelling, "Beat it!" at each other might not be everyone's cup of tea, but Chandler is so good as telling the story that any inadequacies in the conventions of this genre are wallpapered over with some slick dialog and snappy comebacks.
I read FAREWELL, MY LOVELY more for the great atmosphere and tone than for its overall plot. The fact that the storyline wraps up nicely at the end is merely a bonus. But the real way to enjoy this book is to just let the atmosphere, the characters and the prose just wash over you.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Seeing The World As It Really Is 19 décembre 2007
Par givbatam3 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This is the second Raymond Chandler novel I have read after "The Long Goodbye". I rarely ever read fiction but I can not overemphasize how much I enjoy reading Chandler's novels. These stories are most definitely NOT "page turners" and I mean that as a compliment. A "page turner" leaves the reader in suspense about what is going to happen or what is going to be revealed, often leading me, at least, to superficially scanning much of the prose in order to move ahead more quickly. There is some of this suspense in "Farewell My Lovely" (actually more than in "Goodbye" which spends more time philosophizing) but it is in taking every sentence as it comes, rolling it around in your mouth and savoring the flavor that gives the real pleasure in these novels.
What particularly stands out in this story is the shades of gray of everything. Whereas many detective stories try to fit all the pieces together at the end and show us good guys and bad guys, Chandler's protoganist PI Philip Marlowe sees the world in shades of gray. He doesn't attempt to get to the bottom of people's motivations, and that includes himself. At the beginning of the story, he sees a big white man enter a black nightclub and then sees a black man come flying out the door. For no apparent reason, and admitting that it was none of his business, Marlowe goes in to see what is happening and gets drawn into the mystery. We see people commit murders and yet Marlowe feels that they are not "all bad". Marlowe encounters some policemen who are good, some who are bad and some who are in the middle. In the end, Marlowe figures out more or less what happened, but admits there are holes in his theory, and he can't completely explain why the characters he encountered acted the way they did. This is the way the real world operates and Chandler/Marlowe is telling us to be honest with ourselves and to admit that we often don't know why we do the things we do and whether we are being really consistent.
I find it interesting to note that although this story was written almost 70 years ago, it shows a world that is pretty indistinguishable to our own. The story does not seem "dated". We see the materialist Los Angeles society that I grew up in during the 1960's and 1970's, and the type of people who live on its fringes. The only jarring note I encountered showing the changes in technology since 1940 was when Marlowe mentions he saw an "ice truck" parked on the street. Well, I guess time does move on.
In closing, this novel has one of the most famous Chandler-quotations of them all: "I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat, and a gun."
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Almost Chandler's best book. 24 juillet 1998
Par Claude Avary - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Only THE LONG GOODBYE merits higher place in the shining canon of prose-poet Raymond Chandler. This violent, shabby, hilarious, and ultimately very moving novel rockets P.I. Phillips Marlowe through the darkest, seamiest side of Chandler's textured world Los Angeles. In no other novel does Chandler's razor sharp and witty prose slice so sharply, and his sense of tragic irony ("It isn't funny that a man should die, but it is funny that a man should die for so little") reaches its zenith. Hard to put down, impossible to forget.
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