Friday, March 28, 2014

Galveston, by Nic Pizzolatto

(hb; 2010)

From the inside flap:

"On the same day that Roy Cady is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he senses that his boss, a dangerous loan-sharking bar-owner, wants him dead.  Known 'without affection' to members of the boss's crew as 'Big Country' on account of his long hair, beard and cowboy boots, Roy is alert to the possibility that a routine assignment could be a deathtrap.  Which it is.  Yet what the would-be killers do to Roy Cady is not the same as what he does to them, which is to say that after a smoking spasm of violence, they are mostly dead and he is mostly alive.

"Before Roy makes his getaway, he realizes that there are two women in the apartment, one of them still breathing, and he sees something in her frightened, defiant eyes that causes a fateful decision.  He takes her with him as he goes on a run from New Orleans to Galveston, Texas - an action as ill-advised as it is inescapable.  The girl's name is Rocky, and she is too young, too tough, too sexy - and far too much trouble.  Roy, Rocky and her sister hide in the battered seascape of Galveston's country-western bars and fleabag hotels, a world of treacherous drifters, pickup trucks, and ashed-out hopes.  Any chance they will find safety there is soon lost.  Rocky is girl with quite a story to tell, one that will pursue and damage Roy for a very long time to come. . ."


Stark, raw and hauntingly beautiful with its Cormac McCarthy-esque prose, this dark and engrossing novel is one of my favorite reads this year (it's a relatively short list).  Its lead characters - Roy and Rocky - are especially relatable, with their often bleak, briefly hopeful lives, as they try to improve, escape their tragic and brutally violent circumstances.  This is not a work for the faint of heart or those who need lots of sunshine in their reading material.

Galveston is a stunning and effective novel that builds on a familiar pulp themes and storylines, updating them in nuanced ways - worth owning, this.


Janus Metz Pedersen is set to direct the resulting 2015 movie, its screenplay penned by author Nic Pizzolatto.

Matthias Schoenaerts plays Roy Cady.

When more information is easily available I'll update this post. =)

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