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First published as an unheralded paperback original, Pick-Up is an authentic underground classic, an explosive bulletin from the urban underbelly of mid-1950s America. It was Charles Willeford’s second novel, after a rough and wandering earlier life that had taken him from Depression-era hobo camps and soup kitchens to wartime battlefields.
The unblinking story of two lost and self-destructive drifters—a failed painter working as a counterman in a cheap diner and a woman in flight from domestic violence—trying to find a place for themselves in the back streets of San Francisco, Pick-Up is hardboiled writing at its nihilistic best: Willeford’s preferred title for the book was Until I Am Dead. Its bleak vision of life beyond the edge is haunted by rape, racism, alcoholism, suicide, and inescapable poverty, yet shot through with a tenderness and compassion sustained against all odds in a society offering few breaks to its outcasts and misfits. Pick-Up’s many twists and violent turns culminate in an ending that continues to surprise, confirming it as what critic Woody Haut has called “a razor-sharp narrative that rips open the genre.”
brinnetCreated over 5 years ago
About Charles Willeford
Other books by Charles Willeford
Miami Noir: The ClassicsLes Standiford and Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Elmore Leonard and Lester Dent and Zora Neale Hurston and Brett Halliday and Damon Runyon and Edna Buchanan and James Carlos Blake and Douglas Fairbairn and Charles Willeford and T.J. MacGregor and Lynne Barrett and Preston L. Allen and John Dufresne and Vicki Hendricks and Christine Kling and Carolina Garcia-Aguilera and David Beaty
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