Now and on Earth

Now and on Earth

by Jim Thompson
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316195997
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
05/01/2012
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,067,223
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

1

i got off at three-thirty, but it took me almost an hour to walk home. The factory is a mile off Pacific Boulevard, and we live a mile up the hill from Pacific. Or up the mountain, I should say. How they ever managed to pour concrete on those hill streets is beyond me. You can tie your shoelaces going up them without stooping.

Jo was across the street, playing with the minister's little girl. Watching for me, too, I guess. She came streaking across to my side, corn-yellow curls bobbing around her rose-and-white face. She hugged me around the knees and kissed my hand--something I don't like her to do, but can't stop.

She asked me how I liked my new job, and how much pay I was getting, and when payday was--all in one breath. I told her not to talk so loud out in public, that I wasn't getting as much as I had with the foundation, and that payday was Friday, I thought.

"Can I get a new hat then?"

"I guess so. If it's all right with Mother."

Jo frowned. "Mother won't let me have it. I know she won't. She took Mack and Shannon downtown to buy 'em some new shoes, but she won't get me no hat."

"'No hat'?"

"Any hat, I mean."

"Where'd she get the money to go shopping with? Didn't she pay the rent?"

"I guess not," Jo said.

"Oh, goddam!" I said. "Now, what the hell will we do? Well, what are you gaping for? Go on and play. Get away from me. Get out of my sight. Go on, go on!"

I reached out to shake her, but I caught myself and hugged her instead. I cannot stand anyone who is unkind to children--children, dogs, or old people. I don't know what is getting the matter with me that I would shake Jo. I don'tknow.

"Don't pay any attention to me, baby," I said. "You know I didn't mean anything."

Jo's smile came back. "You're just tired, that's all," she said. "You go in and lie down and you'll feel better."

I said I would, and she kissed my hand again and scurried back across the street.

Jo is nine--my oldest child.

Meet the Author

Jim Thompson was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma. He began writing fiction at a very young age, selling his first story to True Detective when he was only fourteen. Thompson eventually wrote twenty-nine novels, all but three of which were published as paperback originals. Thompson also co-wrote two screenplays (for the Stanley Kubrick films "The Killing" and "Paths of Glory"). Several of his novels have been filmed by American and French directors, resulting in classic noir including The Killer Inside Me (1952), After Dark My Sweet (1955), and The Grifters (1963).

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