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Drive Paperback – September 5, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. I drive. That's what I do. All I do." So declares the enigmatic Driver in this masterfully convoluted neo-noir, which ranges from the dive bars and flyblown motels of Los Angeles to seedy strip malls dotting the Arizona desert. A stunt driver for movies, Driver finds more excitement as a wheelman during robberies, but when a heist goes sour, a contract is put on his head and his survival skills burn up the pavement. Author of the popular six-novel series set in New Orleans featuring detective Lew Griffin (The Long-Legged Fly, etc.) and such stand-alone crime novels as Cypress Grove, Sallis won't disappoint fans who enjoy his usual quirky literary stylings. Reading a crime paperback, Driver covers "a few more lines till he fetched up on the word desuetude. What the hell kind of word was that?" Lines such as "Time went by, which is what time does, what it is" provide the perfect existential touch. In this short novel, expanded from his story in Dennis McMillan's monumental anthology Measures of Poison, Sallis gives us his most tightly written mystery to date, worthy of comparison to the compact, exciting oeuvre of French noir giant Jean-Patrick Manchette.
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 Bookmarks Magazine
Critics agree that James Sallis, author of the Lew Griffin mystery series, "may be one of the best mystery writers that most readers have never heard of" (Knight Ridder Tribune). In Drive, he combines murder, treachery, and payback in a sinister plot resembling 1940s pulp fiction and film noir. Told through a complex, cinematic narrative that weaves back and forth through time and place, the story explores Drivers near-existential moral foundations while revisiting its root cause: his hardscrabble, troubled childhood. Dark and gripping, Drive packs a powerful punch.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Drive tells the story of a man simply known throughout the book as Driver; a stunt driver for Hollywood and a getaway driver on the side. This book is so non-linear that I do worry if I tell more about the story I might be giving away something that should be discovered by reading this book. This is a short novel that is jammed pack full of a fantastic noir story that could hold its own against Noir greats like The Postman Always Rings Twice or The Killer Inside Me.
There was so much to like about this book but there were also some things that really bugged me as well. Driver is a mysterious protagonist but I felt he talked far too much for something that would have been more suited as the strong silent type. I'm not sure if he was supposed to be written that way but for me, the impression I received from the character and whenever he spoke, didn't seem to fit my image of him. There has been a recent movie made about this book and I'm keen to see it but I have a feeling there will be a huge difference between the book and movie. I can see a linear story (which I'm ok with) but I can also see them doing the Hollywood thing and try to make a romantic connection between Driver and one of the women from this book. All in all, this book is well worth reading and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel Driven.(less)
One thing to be prapared for is that the story can get very confusing at times. It flashes back and forth through time and there are some chapters where it will take a moment to readjust perspective and realize who, where, and what is taking place.
This isn't the Driver of the movie either. This Driver is in fact somewhat more human than the movie version.
I only gave the book a shot because I fell in love with the movie, but the book has found its own special place in my heart for its own qualities.
Let me be honest, I saw the movie first, ok?
That's the first thing I'll say.
What you saw in the film is not what you'll get in this book.
Now, let me be a little rude, I feel like I just wasted my weekend on this book, I knew that this book would be nothing like the movie, I didn't go in expecting to be blown away. I expected at least something that might entertain. What I got, do you want to know what I got? A wasted weekend.
Buy the book or not, I don't care, but understand this, I warned you.
Why 2 stars? Because this book inspired one of the best movies to come out of the 2000's so far and doesn't deserve a 1 star for that reason alone.
The story unfolds in a non-linear format, but we learn that Driver came from a dysfunctional background, one in which he learned to survive by divorcing himself from everyday, "common" life. Sallis shows this through Driver's recollections of his increasingly insane mother, a woman lived "just to the right of the life that everyone else lived", to paraphrase. These memories are key to understanding the character, and the character is key to the plot itself.
Let's reiterate that: without Driver's coping mechanisms, there is no Drive, or at the very least we read a drastically different tale. So much of the plot's action originates with Driver's attempts to live not just outside of mainstream society but even his own life. As with Ignatius J. Reilly, Driver experiences the consequences of attempting to sidestep life and live int he shadows. As the story progresses and Driver is drawn deeper into the underworld, so too do we see hints of a personality under that machine - a man that exists almost entirely in the shadows. It's no coincidence that his driving jobs begin to taper off as his personality (and the attendant emotions) emerge.
Even the most powerful members of the criminal underworld are crushed under Driver's wheels as he plows forward, relentless and unstoppable, a machine driven by long-repressed emotion. This is a hard-boiled crime story, and a violent one at that, but it's also quite a good character study and worthy of your attention.
Most recent customer reviews
After watching Drive I was amazed that such a simple story with a protagonist of...Read more
I still highly suggest the book.