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The Grifters Paperback – 3 Aug 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; New Ed edition (3 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780752879598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752879598
  • ASIN: 0752879596
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 249,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

Reissue of a true classic - 'One of the toughest crime novels ever' (Newsweek).

About the Author

Jim Thompson was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma. After an itinerant childhood during which his sheriff father was driven from office for embezzlement; and as a roughneck in the Texan oil fields of the 1920s, Thompson became successful as a writer with the pulp fiction houses of the 1950s, writing a dozen of his more enduring novels in just 19 months. He also wrote two screenplays (for the Stanley Kubrick films The Killing and Paths of Glory).

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As Roy Dillon stumbled out of the shop his face was a sickish green, and each breath he drew was an incredible agony. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 July 1998
Format: Paperback
Jim Thompson hits new heights with this fabulous character study of three outcast grifters. Less action and more introspection than you would usually expect from Thompson. However, this allows him to exhibit his writing skills to the fullest with beautiful imagery and poetic philosophical expositions. If anyone tries to tell you that hard-boiled fiction is not literature, make them read this book. Plus, the surprise ending will leave you speechless for days.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Middleton on 29 Dec. 2003
Format: Paperback
"Noir" is an over-used cliche now - every crime writer since James Ellroy in the last 15 years likes to be called a "noir" writer, but few ever really are, or were. Jim Thompson WAS. This is perhaps one of the top 5 crime novels ever written, there are no boring detectives with drab, shaky personal lives within these pages: instead the story is told entirely from the criminal's point of view. And no, he's not a serial killer either, he is a professional grifter (conman). I won't spoil the plot, except to say that this is a brilliant portrait of the loneliness of the true criminal - no ties, no friends, just the constant staying-ahead of the law, and the accumulation of money for the distant day when the criminal plans to quit "the life". It ends with a shocking, gripping twist in the tale - true noir.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim Noy on 23 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
This being a Jim Thompson novel, there is a depth to the writing and yet a vapidity in the plotting that are at loggerheads throughout. Ostensibly the story of wrong-side-of-the-tracks charmer Roy Dillon and his career at a short con artist, anyone expecting the zany antics of Hustle is setting themselves up for a disappointment. This is Jim Thompson - a man whose catalogue charts a pretty sombre and at times unpleasantly bleak picture of a specific slice of humanity that is as garish and faintly surrealistic as it is unvarnished and nail-you-to-your-chair compelling.

But, as with pretty much every Thompson I've read, it falls down on the actual plot: the four main characters seem to drift in and out of each other's lives without particular direction or intent, yet evoking such intense reactions (both explicit and restrained) as to imply some deeper, darker purpose to it all. Then, just as the various strands seem to be coming together - the Mob, the Big Life Decision, the Chance of Something Better - the book ends. Quite weirdly. It's far from the first time Thompson has done this (Pop. 1280 would be a masterpiece for the ages if it didn't just screech suddenly to a halt), and I didn't exactly expect some jaunty song and dance number to round everything out, but it feels a bit like waiting to catch a train and then being told that the place you're going to doesn't actually exist.
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Format: Paperback
Jim's had high hopes for reality at one particular time but these were dashed in the 1930's. His life ebbed away in back breaking jobs as he sacrificed himself for his family.

Instead he became an amateur psychologist chasing the ghouls of the dispossesed,a lay criminologist of the soul and he did it better than the professionals. Way before Spitz and Bowlby became national purveyors of attachment theory, Jim portrayed bleak early childhood lives creating bitter tainted revengeful adults. It was such a simple observation but Jim did it first.

This book focuses on the mother-son relationship, ladled with unrequited incestual allure. Mother is a good stunning looker, only half a generation from an unwanted son, who is also a handome puller. He has the choice of Madonna or the Whore, the grift or the straight job dangled enticingly in front of him, constant excitement or an end to loneliness. This is the moral of the tale, but then it twists and jack knives. Read the book but never let your guard down, because when you do, the big chill is going to squeeze your neck.

Mother and son play the margins, making a killing by bleaching suckers, pulling them away from their payrolls. In a world where everyone wants to win easy money, these con artists thrive on that gullibility...easy money, the trusting soul. This is the grift. Woven in between are the subthemes of racism, the persecution of the Jews, the inability of the Orthodox to melt into the pot, the pressures placed upon young mothers and the hatreds festering in corrupted childhoods.

This books a psycho tour de force confronting the big themes in pulp before they made the grade in academia.
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