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The high window

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Format: Broché
Un récit qui nous plonge tout de suite dans une atmosphère intriguante, égnigmatique. On voudrait tant aider le détective privée, Philip Marlowe, dans ses recherches que le livre se "dévore". L'auteur R.Chandler sait captiver notre attention par une histoire qui ne cesse de rebondir (jusqu'au bout).
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x97c4a78c) étoiles sur 5 103 commentaires
51 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x97cde324) étoiles sur 5 Best sledgehammer around 28 avril 1998
Par sandra mckinnon shelley - Publié sur
Format: Broché
The High Window
by Raymond Chandler
The "High
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
her port.
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. Chandler's style has
been copied endlessly by other writers over the past fifty years, but
no one can touch him. Marlowe's is a world filled with hard-eyed
Filipinos answering doors, nightclubs named the Tigertail Bar, and
women who are "all cigarettes and arched eyebrows and go-to-hell
expressions." Even his butterflies take off heavily and stagger
away "through the motionless hot scented air."
As with
the other Marlowe novels, there's the usual gratuitous wisecracks
exchanged with minor characters--the sourpuss maid; the streetwise
chauffeur; the old, watery-eyed elevator operator who breathed hard,
"as if he was carrying the elevator on his back." Despite his
cynical words, Marlowe holds a special place in his heart for the
losers in the world. He sends cash to a pitiful handwriting expert
and takes an inept detective under his wing. "The shop-soiled
Galahad," an associate calls him.
For the rest of the
characters, however, he has nothing but contempt. A tough man in a
tough world, Marlowe doesn't hide his true feelings under a bushel.
He describes the gambler's wife: "From thirty feet away she
looked like a lot of class. From ten feet away she looked like
something made up to be seen from thirty feet away." His
instructions to the portly Mrs. Murdock: "Tell her to jump in the
lake...Tell her to jump in two lakes, if one won't hold her."

Chandler's master stroke as a writer is hyperbole. Even his silences
are "as loud as a ton of coal going down a chute." He may
write with a sledgehammer, but it's the best sledgehammer around.
24 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x97cde378) étoiles sur 5 Original Recipe Refined 18 décembre 2001
Par John Hilgart - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Chandler wrote his first four novels in rapid succession, then went to Hollywood for four years before writing the fifth Philip Marlowe novel, "The Little Sister." These first four are "original recipe" Chandler -- the novels that defined high-brow hard-boiled.
"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. After the hiatus in Hollywood, he would begin to loosen the detective conventions and develop Marlowe as a man in existential crisis (in "The Little Sister" and "The Long Goodbye").
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x97cde7b0) étoiles sur 5 Marlowe is Maturing 13 juillet 2003
Par Lisa Shea - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
In Chandler's third novel, Philip Marlowe is hitting his stride. He's getting his life under control, he's right on top of the bad guys, and his honorable intentions save the day.
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.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x97cde798) étoiles sur 5 Chandler's Finest Work ... Marlowe's Best Case ... 12 janvier 2012
Par Steffan Piper - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Having read a lot of Raymond Chandler through the years and now, finally going back and re-reading everything with a more widened perspective on the genre, The High Window easily stands out as his finest work.

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. Chandler did drink a lot and it sometimes shows in his other novels, but with this effort you can see a lot of genius, planning and careful, methodic work ... just like the protagonist Philip Marlowe working a case.

The dialogue is as witty as Farewell, My Lovely and the wisecracks are even sharper than The Big Sleep. This book is also absent of the one problem that I have Chandler and that is his disconnection of information from novel to novel. Some of his stories never mention a single word about anyone or anything from his other books, however, in The High Window, I underlined five direct references to his other works. These are nice touches and just things I like, because it's like going to a friends house and being able to recognize the furniture. The Little Sister does a better job with bringing out a familiar cadre of Policemen, but this book is seriously where it's at.

The main thought regarding the story though is all about protection of the client and their anonymity. Marlowe knows that if he has to turn over and talk, he's pretty much out of a job. This is a story about just that and Marlowe goes to great lengths to protect that trust and Chandler does a deft job in making it a subtle undercurrent throughout the book, giving The High Window a sort of 'Moralist' back-drop. While he takes on only one paid client, it feels as if he makes an exercise in proving that his word is his bond with just about everyone he meets.

Personally, this is easily my favorite Chandler novel to date.

There's a few youtube links in the comments regarding some documentary footage concerning Chandler as well a Chandler interview with James Bond author Ian Fleming, where Chandler states that he believes himself to be one of the greatest living American writers -- and Fleming agrees. Fantastic stuff.

7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x97cdeb64) étoiles sur 5 Superior fiction even if one of Chandler's lesser efforts 27 novembre 2008
Par Robert Moore - Publié sur
Format: Broché
To be honest, it seems kind of silly giving this book only four stars. If you compare it to the vast majority of hardboiled or detective novels ever written, it would deserve five stars. It is only when it is compared to Chandler's other books that it falls short. This was his third novel, published after THE BIG SLEEP (which started the vogue for starting books and movies with the words "The Big") and FAREWELL, MY LOVELY. In none of those books is plot and story as important as Chandler's exquisite prose, his wonderfully detailed descriptions, or his magnificently decadent characters. But even so the plots of those two look brilliant compared to this one.

The number of problems with the plot of THE HIGH WINDOW is legion, but I'll highlight only two. Chandler wants Philip Marlowe to discover a body. There are a million ways to do this, but instead of something elegant and simple, Chandler creates incredibly unlikely scenarios whereby the future corpse gives Chandler a key to his apartment so that he won't be forced to wait around if he somehow doesn't happen to be there. This is such a cheap device that it is almost as if Chandler were trying to parody storytelling. Perhaps even sillier is a bizarre gun swap, in which the killer goes into a nearby apartment, finds a gun under the pillow of the tenant, and switches it with his own. Much of the subsequent story hinges on the strange gun swap.

So, as an example of plot, THE HIGH WINDOW is a failure. Nonetheless, there is still the prose. Although Chandler is unquestionably one of the most imitated writers in literary history, no one has quite been able to match his power with words. Marlow enters a club. "A check girl in peach-bloom Chinese pajamas came over to take my hat and disapprove of my clothes. She had eyes like strange sins." He prepares to question someone. "From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class. From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away." He describes the residents of Bunker Hill: "Out of the apartment houses come women who should be young but have faces like stale beer; men with pulled-down hats and quick eyes that look the street over behind the cupped hand that shields the match flame . . . people who look like nothing in particular and know it."

And there are the characters. Though the best characters in THE HIGH WINDOW are not as memorable as the many, many memorable characters in THE BIG SLEEP or FAREWELL, MY LOVELY, there are still several so striking as to not easily slip out of mind.

But substandard Chandler or not, he is one of those writers so brilliant and original that he deserves to be read in toto. One should read not this or that novel, but all of it, short stories included. He is one of the few writers to have played a major role in shaping our culture as a whole. But besides that, his books -- even the lesser ones -- are just a great, great read.
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