Re: RARA-AVIS: Donald Westlake, An Appreciation

Date: 02 Jan 2009

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    Very moving appreciation, Mario.

    Slayground (a Berkeley Medallion copy falsely numbered The Violent World of Parker # 1) was the first Westlake I read, too. I thought it was great, something unlike any crime fiction I'd read (admittedly, not a whole lot at that point, but haven't found any betters since). And then I read #2, Point Blank. Took me years, more than a decade, but I finally compiled the whole series. And read them all yet again, in order. Made a huge difference, made the best even better.

    I once went to a public interview of Westlake done by Michael Dirda at the Smithsonian, around the relaunch of the Parker series. He had great stories. Afterwards, he signed copies of his new book. A handful of us had brought a bunch of books, all of which he graciously signed. We were asked to wait until those with single copies were done. Far from a punishment, this turned out to be a bonus, as Westlake continued to chat and tell stories. Everyone was terribly jealous when I pulled out my copy Comfort Station, since Westlake had mentioned his blurb to himself on the cover of this pseudonymous novel.


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