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Book Title: Now and on Earth|
The author of the book: Jim Thompson
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Format files: PDF
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Reader ratings: 4.4
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Edition: Mulholland Books
Date of issue: May 1st 2012
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San Diego in the years before World War II. James Dillon is barely scraping by working a menial job in manufacturing, trying to raise a family and support his elderly mother and sister Frankie at the same time. He drinks too hard--just like his father and nearly everyone in his extended family. With so many people crammed into one home, sometimes there's so much fighting he can barely stand it. But if James can survive the chaos of everyday life long enough, maybe--just maybe--there's a chance it'll all get better.
NOW AND ON EARTH, Jim Thompson's first novel, draws on personal experience to depict a hardscrabble life in the sun-soaked streets of mid-20th century California. Chronicling the birth of a writer and the plight of the working man, it prefigures the American classics that followed, in a deeply-felt, autobiographical tale that shows a writer just coming into his own.
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James Myers Thompson was a United States writer of novels, short stories and screenplays, largely in the hardboiled style of crime fiction.
Thompson wrote more than thirty novels, the majority of which were original paperback publications by pulp fiction houses, from the late-1940s through mid-1950s. Despite some positive critical notice, notably by Anthony Boucher in the New York Times, he was little-recognized in his lifetime. Only after death did Thompson's literary stature grow, when in the late 1980s, several novels were re-published in the Black Lizard series of re-discovered crime fiction.
Thompson's writing culminated in a few of his best-regarded works: The Killer Inside Me, Savage Night, A Hell of a Woman and Pop. 1280. In these works, Thompson turned the derided pulp genre into literature and art, featuring unreliable narrators, odd structure, and surrealism.
The writer R.V. Cassills has suggested that of all pulp fiction, Thompson's was the rawest and most harrowing; that neither Dashiell Hammett nor Raymond Chandler nor even Horace McCoy, author of the bleak They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, ever "wrote a book within miles of Thompson".  Similarly, in the introduction to Now and on Earth, Stephen King says he most admires Thompson's work because "The guy was over the top. The guy was absolutely over the top. Big Jim didn't know the meaning of the word stop. There are three brave lets inherent in the forgoing: he let himself see everything, he let himself write it down, then he let himself publish it."
Thompson admired Fyodor Dostoevsky and was nicknamed "Dimestore Dostoevsky" by writer Geoffrey O'Brien. Film director Stephen Frears, who directed an adaptation of Thompson's The Grifters as 1990's The Grifters, also identified elements of Greek tragedy in his themes.
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