Monday, 24 May 2021

Dust and Tobacco Smoke

        He says he prefers "smooth shiny girls, hard-boiled and loaded with sin". But is this really true ? I've always felt that this is simply Marlowe's cover, the means by which he holds women at bay so he never has to take a chance on a truly intimate relationship. With Anne, though, he comes dangerously close in spite of himself. When he shows up at her apartment (where he finds nothing "womanish" about the decor) after being doped up and beaten at Dr Sonderborg's clinic, she cares for him and offers a bed for the night, at which point Marlowe looks around her living room and says "A fellow could settle down here."
       But it doesn't last. Marlowe can't help but insult her  with a wisecrack and ends up returning alone to his apartment, where he finds "a homely smell, a smell of dust and tobacco smoke, the smell of a world where men live, and keep on living."

excerpts from
The Port of Missing Women -
Phillip Marlowe and Female Foils
Judith Freeman

Johan Leion


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