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The Getaway Car

A Donald Westlake Nonfiction Miscellany

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Over the course of a fifty-year career, Donald E. Westlake published nearly one hundred books, including not one but two long-running series, starring the hard-hitting Parker and the hapless John Dortmunder. In the six years since his death, Westlake’s reputation has only grown, with fans continuing to marvel at his tightly constructed plots, no-nonsense prose, and keen, even unsettling, insights into human behavior.

With The Getaway Car, we get our first glimpse of another side of Westlake the writer: what he did when he wasn’t busy making stuff up. And it’s fascinating. Setting previously published pieces, many little seen, alongside never-before-published material found in Westlake’s working files, the book offers a clear picture of the man behind the books—including his thoughts on his own work and that of his peers, mentors, and influences. The book opens with revealing (and funny) fragments from an unpublished autobiography, then goes on to offer an extended history of private eye fiction, a conversation among Westlake’s numerous pen names, letters to friends and colleagues, interviews, appreciations of fellow writers, and much, much more. There’s even a recipe for Sloth à la Dortmunder. Really.

Rounded out with a foreword by Westlake’s longtime friend Lawrence Block, The Getaway Car is a fitting capstone to a storied career and a wonderful opportunity to revel anew in the voice and sensibility of a master craftsman.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 09, 2014 – Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Donald Westlake (1933 2008) didn't have an inflated opinion of his own work, as suggested by several of the delightful and revealing selections chosen by editor Stahl. Speaking as Timothy J. Culver, one of his alter egos, he says: "I write what other people want me to write. I'm a hack, I'm making a living." However, Westlake worked diligently at his craft and was employed as an associate editor at the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, which he joined in 1958. He wrote his first short stories there (for $50 each) and quit the agency after he completed his first "sex novel" for $600. Westlake's outpouring of half-a-million words in 1959 resulted in 46 short stories and novelettes, 27 of which were published. The author's quick wit is displayed throughout this collection, whether discussing his own fiction or the work of other writers, such as George V. Higgins and Rex Stout. He also touches on his relationship with films and filmmaking, and with peers such as Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald. Block contributes an insightful foreword, and Westlake's wife, Abby Adams, offers her perspective on living with Westlake's various selves, as exemplified by his multiple characters and aliases. This is a must-have for Westlake fans.
The Getaway Car
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  • $17.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary Criticism
  • Published: Sep 03, 2014
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Seller: Chicago Distribution Center
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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