Monday, September 03, 2007

Pick-Up by Charles Willeford


When was the last time you read a book so compelling you couldn't put it down? What was it?
For me, it was this novel. It takes a long time in Pick-Up for the reader to understand the protagonist and what he's all about. Why he's in the fix he's in. Maybe you won't understand the full story until the last line. And yet, Willeford is able to tell his story lucidly, making even the most mundane details riveting.
This is basically a story about two drunks. Why does it work so well? Better for me even than Kennedy's drunks in Albany. Because the characters are interesting, the narrative pull inescapable, the writing excellent.
Even when the plot turns a bit unlikely in the last third--the characters remain true to themselves, so you go along with it.
What turned you on this much?

4 comments:

Graham Powell said...

Well, I just finished BERLIN GAME by Len Deighton, and I was pretty jazzed about it. I was a huge fan of Deighton's earlier spy series (THE IPCRESS FILE, etc.) and was happy to find that the more recent series is just as good.

Bonus: BERLIN GAME is the first of nine in the series.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I haven't read anything by him for years. Have to try it. Or my husband especially who has knocked off all the Furst and Kanon books.

Todd Mason said...

Well, the last novel I read, Ross Macdonald's THE WAY SOME PEOPLE DIE. I've been reading Mike Ashley's GATEWAYS TO FOREVER (the third volume of his history of fantastic-fiction magazines, this one focused on the 1970s) since receiving it last week, along with a slew of magazines...read an essay last night in the current SOUTHWEST REVIEW that I think you'd resonate with, I certainly did, about the joys of discovering literature for one's self rather than as part of one's cirriculum...I believe the academic author's name is Laura Hall, but should double check that. (She limns the difference between those who see Literature of all kinds as a Institution one joins, and as a speakeasy one discovers and patronizes...she's a speak customer.)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Loe Ross MacDonald and his wife, Margaret Millar. What a household that must have been. I'll look into the others. Thanks.