Monday, August 15, 2022

I'm Reading

      The Annotated Big Sleep.  Raymond Chandler's first novel -- and, I think, the first appearance of private detective Philip Marlowe, is a welter of cultural references and marvelous metaphor dancing through a convoluted plot.  The passage of time has made huge changes to Chandler's Los Angles -- and Marlowe's version of was half fiction to begin with.  Add in all the changes to American culture, and it's something of a lost world.  So the annotated edition does its best to track what's going on, and why; what, exactly, a pinseal wallet might be or how a PI could convince a cabbie to follow a suspicious truck by waving a dollar at him (worth a bit over $20 in 2022), and so on.  It's great fun, and they also track how Chandler re-used earlier work, edited and improved, to create The Big Sleep.  (They don't explain what "Entracte cigars" might be, or that Between The Acts cigars competed with them, or why the things are "toy-sized;" anything less trivial merits mention by the authors, often in wonderful detail.) 

      Highly recommended if you enjoy that sort of thing -- a page of well-written footnotes for each page of text, and plenty of illustrations.  Pure escapism, as detective fiction always has been.  It's a good time for a little escape.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bobbi -

On your recent "Posterior vitreous detachment" post -

Scary.

Your symptoms were acute, and you got to the eye surgeon *immediately*, as you should have. :)

Your mentioning the eye doc alerting you to see him if you notice a loss of peripheral vision prompted me to comment. I had gone a number of years (over 20, actually) without an eye exam and when I finally got one was diagnosed with glaucoma. On top of needing cataract surgery. Fun, fun, fun, quite expensive fun. The glaucoma not being diagnosed for so long led to a loss in that eye's peripheral vision, but I never noticed it because is progressed so slowly.

I'm your vintage, so please keep up with the routine eye exams, it can literally save your vision.

The cataract surgery went well, thankfully. The annoying side effects of losing my extreme close-up focusing ability sucked, but at least I can see clearly. No more 20/400 eyesight is very nice, but the multi-focal length lenses have artifacts of their own, like extreme glare if seeing bright lights and seeing rings when looking at pin point sources of light. The joys of sliding into old coot territory, I suppose...