ietrich Kalteis and Martin J, Frankson are back with another Off the Cuff
discussion, this time with Canadian novelist Charlotte Morganti, hashing out a matter dear to my heart: setting as character in crime fiction. Once again, Dietrich illustrates the discussion with one of my nourish photos (left), whose setting is right here in South Philadelphia.
Elsewhere, here's Donald Westlake, interviewed by Al Nussbaum in 1974, from the Westlake nonfiction collection The Getaway Car
"I have felt for some time, with growing conviction. that there weren't any stories around to be written. I haven't been able to do a Richard Stark novel in a year and a half, the comedy caper is dead, story lines are drying up like African cattle. Storylines reflect, refer to and attempt to deal with their period of history, and that's why they become old and obsolete and used up. Another reason is that the same story gets done and done and done and done, and suddenly one day nobody wants to read or hear that story again."
1974 marked the beginning of Westlake's 23-year hiatus from the Parker novels he wrote under the name Richard Stark. It was also the year of Jimmy the Kid
, the worst of his comic caper Dortmunder books, Westlake's writing of which began to grow more sporadic around the same time. Instead, he concentrated on standalone novels for the next few years, though he eventually returned to both Parker and Dortmunder. So 1974 obviously marked a kind of crisis for Westlake. Now here's your question: Was Westlake's crisis merely personally, or was 1974 indeed a crisis year for crime fiction? Was his gloomy pronouncement accurate?
© Peter Rozovsky 2015
Labels: Charlotte Morganti, Dietrich Kalteis, Donald Westlake, Dortmunder, John Dortmunder, Martin J. Frankson, noir photos, Off the Cuff, photography, Richard Stark, The Getaway Car