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Hard Rain Falling (1966)

par Don Carpenter

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4801939,481 (4.1)36
A hardboiled novel about life in the American underground, from the pool halls of Portland to the cells of San Quentin. Simply one of the finest books ever written about being down on your luck.  Don Carpenter's Hard Rain Falling is a tough-as-nails account of being down and out, but never down for good--a Dostoyevskian tale of crime, punishment, and the pursuit of an ever-elusive redemption. The novel follows the adventures of Jack Levitt, an orphaned teenager living off his wits in the fleabag hotels and seedy pool halls of Portland, Oregon. Jack befriends Billy Lancing, a young black runaway and pool hustler extraordinaire. A heist gone wrong gets Jack sent to reform school, from which he emerges embittered by abuse and solitary confinement. In the meantime Billy has joined the middle class--married, fathered a son, acquired a business and a mistress. But neither Jack nor Billy can escape their troubled pasts, and they will meet again in San Quentin before their strange double drama comes to a violent and revelatory end.… (plus d'informations)
Récemment ajouté parerohwedd, bibliothèque privée, THBevilacqua, otori, Mattbr, JameStewart, harvrabb, twharring, dmofnd
Bibliothèques historiquesNewton 'Bud' Flounders
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» Voir aussi les 36 mentions

Affichage de 1-5 de 19 (suivant | tout afficher)
a damn fine read like Fat City meets Steinbeck. ( )
  ThomasPluck | Apr 27, 2020 |
Review "Tarmac-tough dialogue and road-novel deliquent action is customised with a tender intensity about both friendship and sexual passion. Often savage, never cynical, Carpenter brings gold to the grit." —Boyd Tonkin, The Independent “_Hard Rain Falling_ is a unique read; violent, tender, inexorable, and melancholic; a beat-era book of disaffected young men devoid of On the Road euphoria but more poignant and gripping for its fatalistic grounding. The small lives contained herein are indelible.” —Richard Price "You always hear that Don Carpenter was a writer's writer, hugely admired by critics and novelists for his brilliance and precision, but every civilian reader I know was putty in his hands once that person opened any of his astonishing novels. He could be hilarious, and he could break your heart and he could write about ego and frailty as well as anyone on earth. I loved him like crazy." --Anne Lamott "Don Carpenter is a particular favorite of mine. His first novel, Hard Rain Falling, might be my candidate for the other best prison novel in American literature." --Jonahtan Lethem "Carpenter's masterpiece, long out of print, is the definitive juvenile-delinquency novel and a damning indictment of our justice system that is still relevant today." -- George Pelecanos, The Village Voice "Carpenter's prose is all muscle and sinew." --Newsweek "Don Carpenter combines a reporter's eye for external detail with a novelist's sense of inner depts." --_Los Angeles Times_ "_Hard Rain Falling_ roars through dim Western streets like an articulate Hells Angel looking for a fight... The book is tough and vital, built with slabs of hard prose." --_The New York Times_ "_Hard Rain Falling_ is Last Exit to Brooklyn amended but unaltered by cries of affection unde... Product Description Don Carpenter’s Hard Rain Falling is a tough-as-nails account of being down and out, but never down for good—a Dostoyevskian tale of crime, punishment, and the pursuit of an ever-elusive redemption. The novel follows the adventures of Jack Levitt, an orphaned teenager living off his wits in the fleabag hotels and seedy pool halls of Portland, Oregon. Jack befriends Billy Lancing, a young black runaway and pool hustler extraordinaire. A heist gone wrong gets Jack sent to reform school, from which he emerges embittered by abuse and solitary confinement. In the meantime Billy has joined the middle class—married, fathered a son, acquired a business and a mistress. But neither Jack nor Billy can escape their troubled pasts, and they will meet again in San Quentin before their strange double drama comes to a violent and revelatory end.
  buffygurl | Mar 8, 2019 |
Wanting is not the same as having; having is not the same as making.

You can love and love, never saying the word, never getting eye-to-eye with the core of your need and gift, and be no closer to the beloved than bodies can get. Only children can be utterly consuming love objects, though far too often they aren't. And lovers? Far too scary to love unguardedly, I think, but most don't even get near to the guardrails before swerving back to the middle of the road.

It's the carnage from their fear-driven lurches that takes out the innocent bystanders. That's what this story is: The record of Jack's fear-driven, rage-fueled lurchings back and forth as love ungiven, ungivable, rots him from within, taking an agonizingly slow time to finish its dreadful work.

A dark and terrible story about a life unlived, only sweated out. ( )
  richardderus | Dec 18, 2018 |
2nd time 12/1-12/11/18 ( )
  jimifenway | Dec 11, 2018 |

Don Carpenter (1931–1995) - American author who grew up in Berkeley, California and lived most of his life in the Pacific Northwest. Hard Rain Falliing was his first novel, published in 1966.

Hard Rain Falling - A clear, honest story of Jack Levitt, a young man abused and brutalized in his years growing up in an orphanage and, after running away to Portland, Oregon at age sixteen, living his hardscrabble life among his buddies and cheap whores, in and out of sleazy pool halls, dilapidated boarding houses and hotels, reform school and prison, lots of prison, all the while drinking whiskey and fist fighting his way through seething anger and rage.

Author Don Carpenter’s prose is so sharp and vibrant, I had the feeling of standing next to Jack every step of the way. I also got to know, up close and personal, a few other men and women in Jack’s life, like Billy, a teenage pool shark with yellow skin and kinky reddish-brown hair, young tough Denny who loves any kind of dangerous, illegal action and, last but hardly least, wild woman Sally. This is such a powerful novel, other than my own brief comments, I’ll stand aside and let the author’s words speak for themselves.

Although he had clear blue eyes and curly blonde hair, even at age seven Jack looked like a seasoned boxer. Here’s Jack on his experience at the orphanage – and no wonder he ran away as soon as he could:

“Because the children of the orphanage were taught, all week long every week of their lives, that the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, was purely a question of feeling: if it felt good, it was bad, if it felt bad, it was good. . . . And work, they were taught that work was good, especially hard work, and the harder the work the better it was, their bodies screaming to them that this was a lie, it was all a terrible, God-originated, filthy lie, a monstrous attempt to keep them from screaming out their rage and anguish and murdering the authorities.”

One night a reform school guard lines the boys up and accuses them of unnatural sex practices, then grabs one of the frightened kids around the neck. Jack lashes out at this injustice, fists first, nearly killing the guard, an action that lands him in a dark, isolated cell for over four months. And that’s dark as in completely black; no light for 126 days:

“The punishment cell was about seven feet long, four feet wide, and six feet high. The floor and walls were concrete, and there were no windows. In the iron door near the bottom was a slot through which he passed his slop can, and through which his food and water were delivered to him. They did not feed him every day, and because of that he had no way of knowing how much time had passed. . . . At times, all his senses deserted him, and he could not feel the coldness of the concrete or smell his excrement, and the small sounds he made and the sounds that filtered in through the door gradually dimmed, and he was left along inside his mind, without a past to envision, since his inner vision was gone, too, and without a future to dream, because there was nothing but this emptiness and himself.”

When Jack is in his early 20s, after stealing a car and breaking into a house of rich people away on vacation and being caught drunk in bed, he is sent to a county jail:

“The boredom of it all, the sameness, the constant noise and smell of the tank, were driving him crazy. The fact that he was in was driving him crazy. . . . They had no right to do this to me, or to anybody else. He hated them all. But was crazy to hate them. So he decided he was going crazy. It was a relief for him to go berserk at last: it was an act of pure rationality that had nothing to do with McHenry or the poor fool Mac was taking over the bumps. It was an expression of sanity, a howl of rage at a world that put men in county jails. Everything finally got to be too much and he let go of his passion.”

Jack in San Quentin prison, on his bunk, looking up at the stark white ceiling, reflecting on our constant itch for sexual pleasure and the reason he was born in the first place:

“It struck him with horrible force. His parents, whoever they were, had probably made love out of just such an itch. For fun, for this momentary satisfaction, they had conceived him, and because he was obviously inconvenient, dumped him in the orphanage, because he, the life they had created while they were being careless and thoughtless, was not part of the fun of it all; he was just a harmful side effect of the scratching of the itch; he was the snot in the handkerchief after the nose had been blown, just something disgusting to be gotten rid of in secret and forgotten. Cold rage filled him, rage at his unknown parents, rage at the life he had been given, and for such trivial, stupid reasons!"

There's a lot of scenes where Jack Levitt talks, drinks, smokes and takes action with Billy, Denny, Sally and others, even reaching a point in his life where he reads Joyce and Faulkner, but day and night, and that's ever day and every night, Jack has to deal with his rage. Again, as honest and as clear a novel as you will ever read.

Special thanks to Goodreads friend Jeffrey Keeten for writing his penetrating review of this American classic thus prompting me to read Hard Rain Falling and write my own review.

( )
1 voter Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
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A hardboiled novel about life in the American underground, from the pool halls of Portland to the cells of San Quentin. Simply one of the finest books ever written about being down on your luck.  Don Carpenter's Hard Rain Falling is a tough-as-nails account of being down and out, but never down for good--a Dostoyevskian tale of crime, punishment, and the pursuit of an ever-elusive redemption. The novel follows the adventures of Jack Levitt, an orphaned teenager living off his wits in the fleabag hotels and seedy pool halls of Portland, Oregon. Jack befriends Billy Lancing, a young black runaway and pool hustler extraordinaire. A heist gone wrong gets Jack sent to reform school, from which he emerges embittered by abuse and solitary confinement. In the meantime Billy has joined the middle class--married, fathered a son, acquired a business and a mistress. But neither Jack nor Billy can escape their troubled pasts, and they will meet again in San Quentin before their strange double drama comes to a violent and revelatory end.

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Éditions: 1590173244, 1590173902

 

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