i have admired the john farrow film adaptation of this book for a long time, and i have to say it probably clouded my enjoyment of the novel though i love the conceit of george stroud's dilemma his story, above all. the big clock is an extended metaphor throughout the novel, of business and society controlling and overwhelming independent spirit which is reduced to a reality in the film: there actually *is* a big clock, and instead of ruminating on the big clock as it hustles people along, attention is paid to time and time pieces throughout: the murder weapon in the book for example, is not as it is in the film, a sundial but rather a brandy decanter close at hand. the scene is which the murder takes place is vastly superior in the novel, and the innuendo that sparks the killer's blood rage has much more impact.
i also appreciate how deftly fearing managed his multiple narrators: something not attempted in the film. but the end of the book is abrupt, and i believe the ending is very much improved in the harrowing film climax: it's neater. having recently watched the first three seasons of mad men, i found myself seeing similarities between main character of that show, don draper, and the character, george stroud: he is a man who has reinvented himself over and over again, and tries to manage a double life as best he can. this is a very readable book but i came at it from the wrong direction.