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Galveston: A Novel Paperback – June 14, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Pizzolatto, author of the story collection Between Here and the Yellow Sea, takes a hard-edged look at the stormy life of a compassionate criminal in his impressive first novel. On the same day in 1987 he's diagnosed with lung cancer, Roy Cady flees New Orleans, taking along Raquel Rocky Arceneaux, a pretty 18-year-old with a lurid past, whom he rescues from some hoods in the wake of a bloodbath. Rocky persuades him to stop in Orange, Tex., to pick up Tiffany, her three-year-old sister, and by the time they reach refuge in a rundown Galveston motel, 40-year-old Roy finds himself an unlikely father figure even as he struggles with a romantic attraction to Rocky. Pizzolatto's insightful portrayal of the heroic Roy, who takes a beating for trying to help the two girls, is rough and tumble real. As Pizzolatto switches smoothly between past and present, he vividly captures Galveston in all its desperate vulnerability as it faces the approach of Hurricane Ike in September 2008. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Pizzolatto, author of the short story collection Between Here and the Yellow Sea (2006), delivers a taut first novel suffused with a strong noir sensibility. Roy Cady is working as a strong-arm man for a low-level New Orleans gangster when two events change his life: he’s diagnosed with terminal cancer, and his boss puts out a hit on him. Soon enough, Roy and a young prostitute, Rocky—thrown together after a blood-spattered encounter with the would-be hit men—are on the run, traveling from New Orleans to Galveston. “Nothing ends well,” Roy muses at one point, and, of course, we know from the start that this road trip is on a collision course with disaster. The inevitable downward arc of all noir can bring a certain dreary sameness to the proceedings, especially if the writer paints his disasters by the numbers, but Pizzolatto builds tension by moving back and forth in time: we know it all goes bad, but we don’t know how. Add to that a writer with a real feel for the special poetry of noir, and you have a fine crime-fiction debut. --Bill Ott --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (June 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439166668
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439166666
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (363 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nic Pizzolatto's fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, The Oxford American, The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, Best American Mystery Stories and several other publications. His work has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and his story collection Between Here and the Yellow Sea was named by Poets & Writer's Magazine as one of the top five fiction debuts of the year. His first novel, Galveston, was a finalist for the Barnes and Noble 2010 Discover Award and the Edgar Award for best first novel; it won the Spur Award, and received the Prix de Premier Roman L'Etranger for best first novel (foreign) from the French Academy. He has taught at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, The University of Chicago, and DePauw University.

In 2012 he created a new series for HBO titled 'True Detective', the first season of which will air in January of 2014, with Pizzolatto as sole writer, executive producer, and showrunner.

www.nicpizzolatto.com

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Giddy Goody on June 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Galveston is exceptionally well-written, a Southern noir that takes recognizable genre types (the tough, smart mob enforcer and the spirited young woman) and plows deep, deep, deep into their psyches and souls. Roy Cady, the narrator and main character, is pretty much a triumphant creation; he knows that his strengths and his weaknesses are more acute than the typical, assimilated dude, and he is fully aware of the harm he can inflict, but he also seems to hit upon wells of compassion and bravery that are both surprising and completely earned. And his voice is an uncompromising wonder.

One reviewer here calls Galveston a redemption tale, but I think that may be putting too sunny a spin; there is no promise that the possible redemption offered has been worth the costs paid (a tour of the Inferno, with glimpses at Purgatory). It is more a novel about seemingly marginal individuals clawing tooth and nail for their humanity, and the world (and, quite often, their own instincts) fighting them at every step. There's a cinematic clarity, and an irresistibly dark pull, to the narrative, and the language often sings out with the sort of violent, seemingly off-hand vernacular poetry of a Denis Johnson or a Roberto Bolano (minus his post-Beat mannerisms).

Recommended for folks interested in noir novels that not only satisfy your itch for genre strengths like expert plotting and unceasing atmospherics, but that may also exceed your expectations in terms of characterization and depth of feeling.
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Cardiff Giant on June 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Galveston" is a first-rate page-turner, and, thank god, not for any cheap manipulations or torn from the headlines hooks, but for characters I can relate to -- emotionally, at least -- who are yanked relentlessly and often brutally into situations I can not relate to -- physically, at least. (What a concept -- a novel with characterization worthy of a "literary hit" and a plot worthy of the crime genre's masters!) What can be said except that Roy Cady escaped Springsteen's "Nebraska" album; thankfully, he found a home in Nic Pizzolatto's first novel.

Once you've finished, Pizzolatto's craftsmanship truly hits you -- his structure renders any melodramatics moot and lets you focus on the human journey, the human costs on Roy, Rocky, and Tiffany (in other words, he makes sure that you're turning this page-turner's pages for the right reasons); his sense of place and time is annoyingly pinpoint, as my shoulders stung from sunburns I did not have and my feet itched with sand that wasn't between my toes; and his language is a miracle, romantically honest (though this won't be a surprise for fans of his short story collection).

Incredible stuff here. Don't miss out.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Brief: Good for a modern noir but it always left me wanting more. Solid storytelling but it was a well-trodden motif with no new angles or innovative character developments. The characters were essentially one-dimensional personalities -- something Pizzolatto seemed to have corrected in his latest work. The end -- the major plot points -- were fairly easy to suss out. All in all, it was a good, quick read, but the archetypes were obvious and stayed true to noir form. If you were expecting True Detective, this isn't it. Although, years down the line, it could show a baseline that will only show Pizzolatto's true brilliance. He is growing into his new writing style with his recent work for HBO. Evidence of TD's philosophy and vivid scene descriptions are there, albeit meekly.

Regardless, it was entertaining and I look forward to TD's conclusion and it's further iterations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Seth on May 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked this up because Pizzolatto's writing on True Detective was fantastic. Still one of the best shows I've seen in years. His writing here has its moments. I highlighted many phrases and passages throughout. And Galveston is a fast read; good for a summer weekend. But it wasn't as compelling to me. I didn't find the characters particularly interesting and the plot was not as interesting as I'd hoped. Still, perfectly good story, just not as memorable as I'd hoped.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rob M on May 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is incredibly well written. The begging and the end of the plot are excellent. The writing, beginning and ending deserve 5 stars.

...However, the middle section of the book is really, really dull. Almost nothing happens for the middle 80% of the book. I struggled to get through it, and almost gave up.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Anna M on April 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was so impressed with True Detective, particularly the writing and characters, that I was anxious to read this. Unfortunately, I found the protagonist entirely uninteresting and most of the characters were equally flat, dull and scummy. The core mystery kept getting dropped, like the protagonist was too stupid to take the time out of whiskey-drinking to look into it, although it was always at his fingertips. Moreover, it had so many elements that turned up in True detective that it was like the off-off Broadway version. This genre has been done much better. I especially recommend John Gregory Dunne's noir novels True Confessions & Nothing Lost
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Emily Anne Leonard on July 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
i really loved True Detective and I had heard that this novel by the series' writer was great, too. It wasn't.

To be clear, I didn't read Galveston because I expected it to be a prequel to True Detective, or in any other way similar to the show. I thought the writing on the series was outstanding, and I figured a book by the same author would also contain outstanding writing. That being said, the book was just....okay. The story was OK enough to keep me reading until the end. But the ending felt anticlimactic to say the least. I guess the word I would use to describe this book is underwhelming.
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