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Drive [Paperback]

James Sallis
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 6.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

25 Sep 2011
Now a major film starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan.

Set mostly in Arizona and L.A., Drive is about a man who does stunt driving for movies by day and drives for criminals at night. Sallis combines murder, treachery and payback in a sinister plot with resonances of 1940s pulp fiction and film noir. Told through a cinematic narrative that weaves back and forth through time and place, the story explores Driver's near-existential moral foundations, intercut with moments of bloody violence.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: No Exit Press; Film tie-in ed edition (25 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842435000
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842435007
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Sallis, born in 1945 on the banks of the Mississippi river, is a renowned poet, critic, essayist, editor, translator, musicologist, biographer and novelist. Author of Salt River, Cripple Creek, Cypress Grove, Drive and a series of books set in New Orleans featuring private detective Lew Griffin. He is the winner of Edgar, Anthony, Agatha awards for best novel and currently lives in Arizona with his wife Karyn.

Product Description


'Fast cars, guns and babes. Just my cup of tea.' Mark Timlin, The Independent
'Sallis's treatment is minimalist, stylish, and all the more evocative for it. Essential noir existentialism.' Maxim Jakubowski, The Guardian
'A small masterpiece.' Susanna Yager, Sunday Telegraph
'Sallis's treatment is minimalist, stylish, and all the more evocative for it. Essential noir existentialism' --Marilyn Stasio, New York Times

A small masterpiece. --Susanna Yager, Sunday Telegraph

Fast cars, guns and babes. Just my cup of tea. --Mark Timlin, The Independent

From the Publisher

The basis for the film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, recent winner of Best Director for Drive at Cannes. The film is provisionallyv targeted for release in the UK September 23rd 2011.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Driver, the damaged main character of this minimalist noir novel, works as a stunt man by day and as the driver of getaway cars at night. Purely pragmatic, he has no real dreams and no long-term goals, the result of his violent childhood, which was not a childhood at all. No one gets close to him, though he occasionally shows signs that he has some feelings for other damaged creatures. When it comes to his work, however, he is all business--"I don't know anyone, I don't carry weapons. I drive."

Opening dramatically with Driver leaning against a wall in a Motel 6 room, his arm wounded so badly it is useless, with three dead bodies around him, the novel repeats these images like a bizarre refrain, as the background for this scene and the action which follows it are revealed. In terse prose, as efficient in conveying information as Driver is in killing those who threaten him, Sallis follows Driver as he moves between Los Angeles and Phoenix, doing jobs. Episodes from his life hit the reader with the force of gunfire and in random order, connected not by transitions but through the character and violent background of Driver as his life unfolds. Scenes from Driver's film assignments overlap with scenes from his real life, sometimes inspiring Driver to reminisce or to try to look forward to see how and why he ended up where he is.

Actions speak louder than words here, but the dialogue, when it occurs, is memorable and dramatic. Scenes in which Driver tries to visit his estranged mother and later his foster family are intensely moving because they emphasize an emotional connection which is otherwise lacking in his life. He is intelligent, and he keeps trying to communicate with people through words, though the circumstances of his life are almost entirely violent.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding 7 Sep 2011
I bought this in anticipation of the release of the film, starring Ryan Gosling. If it's anywhere near as good on screen, then we'll have a cinematic classic on our hands. Certainly as American noir fiction goes, this is among the most sophisticated and poetic that I've come across.

The main character, Driver, is an engagingly complex creation, with an opaque personal morality that never alienates the reader. In fact, throughout the book, Sallis maintains sympathy for Driver, without compromising on his unflinching descriptions of the character's actions. It is not only, however, the principal character, but also the supporting cast who make this such an incredible book. The fractured time-span of the novel means that characters are introduced, returned to, killed off or left behind in a seemingly random order that one comes to realise is reflecting Driver's thought process. The reader experiences Driver's reality, whether he is in it or remembering it, alongside him.

What really sets this apart is the prose style. 'Gritty' thrillers are ten-a-penny, it takes something of quite another order to to be able to write a book with this sort of content in such a lyrical style, romancing the seedy underbelly of LA, the backdrop to the movies that never makes it to the movies. Hopefully, when this does make it to the movies, it won't be sacrificed for glamour. Something tells me, from the buzz already surrounding the film, that it won't be.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but could have been better 16 Mar 2012
I don't usually read crime thrillers but after seeing the excellent movie adaptation of this book I thought I should make an exception.
The main character is Driver (his real name is never revealed) a professional driver with a dark past who works as a stunt driver on movie sets but also moonlights as a getaway driver. He becomes embroiled in a double cross during a robbery which results in lots of murder and car chases.

Driver is a strange character to read about. We see glimpses of a childhood spent with a criminal father and an indifferent, uncaring mother but never fully understand his motives. We don't see much of his personality or thought process and I get the impression the author was aiming for the strong silent type.

The chapters vary in length from two pages to fifteen but they are all short. The story is sometimes difficult to follow as it jumps about in time. If I hadn't already seen the movie I might have become confused as to what was going on.

Overall it was ok but not brilliant. More could have been done with character development and I think if it had a more traditional layout it would have been easier to enjoy. It does improve towards the end and once you get used to the way it is written it can be rewarding.

The movie is definitely better though
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but definitely not sweet 27 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The literary equivalent of being mauled by a rabid chihauha, this brief but fanged story is compelling. The choppy prose and non-linear style take a little getting used to, but once you adapt, this is a breathless, viseral ride that still manages to be a terrific character piece. It's easy to see exactly how and why they made an action movie out of it -- Driver is a classic outlaw updated for modern Hollywood. Simple but not necessarily straight forward, this stays with you far longer than the surface indicates it has any right to.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, well written, good quality. 15 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fantastic book, well written, good quality.

i bought this because of the film, I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it is, it is just as cool, tense and bloody as the film, highly recommend it.
I really love the fact that the chapters are quite short too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Novel - But not like the film.
Without a doubt, I loved the film. It was fast moving, sharp plot, adequate action and had the feel of a Michael Mann crime thriller. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Amy Gerrard
5.0 out of 5 stars Noir at its best
Having admired the film I thought I would read the novel as well. I was quite surprised to find how different it was, with characters developed in quite different ways - but still... Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. H. Bretts
3.0 out of 5 stars Short and Disjointed but Good Overall.
Having been a big fan of the film I decided to read the book. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was disappointing but it certainly did not have the finesse and smoothness of the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by FilmAddict21
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Enjoyable and quite exciting read, with a fairly predictable outcome. Not exactly deep in plot, but adequate for retaining one's interest.
Published 5 months ago by Mr. R. Enderby
5.0 out of 5 stars Salute you Mr Sallis
Oh this is one tight novel, spare, lean, and fascinating. Really good read, and hard not to read it all in one sitting.
Published 6 months ago by P. Girardi
2.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful...Just Dreadful.......
I bought this after watching the film of the same name and I absolutely disliked it ..I wont say hate because I find that word so offensive and cannot believe anyone can really... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Neil Franklin
4.0 out of 5 stars Nihilism at its best !
Although its very down beat and at times depressing, its also very poignant at times if that makes any sense!
Published 6 months ago by darren moore
5.0 out of 5 stars stocking filler
Excellent service and swift delivery, all in time for Christmas! My husband will love this stocking filler for Christmas morning, also the pink page edges is a nice touch!
Published 7 months ago by cjarvis
4.0 out of 5 stars A cruising read!
The enigma of the main character throughout the book is in itself compelling. The short chapters and tone make the story unpredictable. Read more
Published 7 months ago by john
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the movie
99/100 the book is better than the actual film but these two, drive the book and drive the movie are very different and if you enjoyed the film it is worth a read but again they... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jack Gibbons
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