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George Stroud is a hard-drinking, tough-talking, none-too-scrupulous writer for a New York media conglomerate that bears a striking resemblance to Time, Inc. in the heyday of Henry Luce. One day, before heading home to his wife in the suburbs, Stroud has a drink with Pauline, the beautiful girlfriend of his boss, Earl Janoth. Things happen. The next day Stroud escorts Pauline home, leaving her off at the corner just as Janoth returns from a trip. The day after that, Pauline is found murdered in her apartment.
Janoth knows there was one witness to his entry into Pauline’s apartment on the night of the murder; he knows that man must have been the man Pauline was with before he got back; but he doesn’t know who he was. Janoth badly wants to get his hands on that man, and he picks one of his most trusted employees to track him down: George Stroud, who else?
How does a man escape from himself? No book has ever dramatized that question to more perfect effect than The Big Clock, a masterpiece of American noir.
About the Author
KENNETH FEARING (1902–1961) was born in Oak Park, Illinois. Voted wittiest boy and class pessimist in high school, he moved to New York City after graduating from the University of Wisconsin. He published several well received volumes of poetry in addition to his novels, including Angel Arms, Dead Reckoning, and Stranger at Coney Island and other poems. The Big Clock was included in The Library of America's Crime Novels: American Noir of the 30s and 40s. The novel has been adapted into two films, The Big Clock (1948) and No Way Out (1987).
NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER is the author of fourteen books: five novels, The Soloist,Veronica,A Trip to the Stars, Franklin Flyer, and the forthcoming The Bestiary; eight books of poetry, most recently Crossing the Equator: New & Selected Poems, 1972-2004; and a nonfiction book, Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir & the American City. He is a Professor in the School of the Arts at Columbia University.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book, published in 1946, still resonates today as a classic. It has a distinctive style, and grips the reader, forcing us to watch people caught in an inexorable machine that grinds them to bits. Though dated in some aspects, it has relevance for today, and remains a powerful read. The self-destructive lives of the characters are shown, along with highlights of guilt, fear, shame, and how to exist while waiting to be found out and destroyed. Each turn of the screw (or tick of the big clock) squeezes the characters a bit more, adding to the strain they already feel. This is how to build and maintain suspense- writers take note.