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If Dashiell Hammet invented the hard-boiled lexicon, Raymond Chandler turned it into poetry. Here, we find the consummately down-and-out Philip Marlowe on a case that slips in and out of focus so many times that by the middle of the book, the plot seems to have dissolved entirely. But that hardly matters because, like Marlowe, the reader is pulled forward by vague uncertainly rather than any definable outcome. There's a reason Chandler has been citied as an influence by eveyone from Tom Waits to the Cohen Brothers, and it's all in The Long Goodbye. A great read to see you through the last languid months of summer.
Picked by Jarrod in Fort Greene