RARA-AVIS: Re: Westlake's Memory

From: hardcasecrime (editor@hardcasecrime.com)
Date: 16 Apr 2010

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    Sorry for any confusion, guys. As I have made clear in all the various interviews I've given about the book (and Lawrence Block has made clear in all the interviews he's given and pieces he's written on the subject), Donald Westlake wrote MEMORY in the early 1960s. He gave it to his agent, but the agent was unable to sell it, possibly because it was twice the length of Don's other books at the time, possibly because it was a dark and sensitive philosophical/literary/mainstream novel rather than a punchy commercial crime novel, possibly because that agent just didn't have contacts among editors outside the hardcore genre publishers. Whatever the reason, he told Don he couldn't sell it, so Don put it away in a drawer, and despite Larry's urging Don to publish the book at various times over the next 40 years, Don never did.

    It's the last unpublished Westlake novel I was aware of, which is why
    "final unpublished novel" seemed like a reasonable description. But no, it wasn't written after all his other novels. (And it may not even be the last one that exists -- Max Allan Collins has since told me about another manuscript he saw some years ago that he's confident never got published. So there may eventually be one more.)


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