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The Car Thief (Paperback)

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About the Author


The late, great, Theodore (Ted) Weesner died in 2015. Known as the Writer s writer by the larger literary community, his novels and short works were published to great critical acclaim. Born in Flint, Michigan, to an alcoholic father and teenage mother who abandoned him aged one, he spent a large part of his childhood in an unofficial foster home of an immobile woman of over five hundred pounds. This, however, gave him and his elder brother, Jack, a degree of freedom to explore and have a wide variety of childhood adventures. He nevertheless became introspective as a teenager, with a rebellious streak, which led to him not graduating from high school and also becoming involved in petty crime. Eventually returning to the care of his father, he finally took off on his own when he lied about his age and joined the Army aged seventeen. It was the Army that finally had the influence previously lacking in Weesner s life, and whist serving he earned a high school equivalency diploma, which on leaving allowed him to gain a place at Michigan State University and then an M.F.A. degree from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. His experiences in the Army also provided material for two of his later books, and others gained from his many years of teaching at the University of New Hampshire, and later Emerson College. Put together with his earlier life experiences, ample material was available to provide a background for his plots, once he had honed his writing skills, and his works never lost their air of reality and his inherent understanding of human behaviour. His first novel, "The Car Thief"was published in 1972 after excerpts had appeared in "The New Yorker," "Esquire"and "The Atlantic Monthly." It was a coming-of-age tale that critics found original, perspicacious and tender . Joseph McElroy, in "The New York Times Book Review," referred to it as a story so modestly precise and so movingly inevitable that before I knew what was happening to me I felt in the grip of some kind of thriller . In his obituary of Weesner, published in the "New York Times"in June 2015, Bruce Weber stated that like many a critically appreciated book . it faded rather quickly from view. But it became famous in literary circles as a forgotten gem . It has since had a second life, being re-published twice more and continues to grip readers of a new generation as well as remaining popular with those who were its contemporaries. Again, Weesner s later work did not always enjoy the immediate commercial success that might be expected of critically acclaimed work to the sorrow of his fellow writers, and recognised by Weesner himself, who was acutely aware of the neglected writer label despite such plaudits as that of the novelist Stewart O Nan, when speaking of "The True Detective," and calling it one of the great, great American novels . This could be because his particular genre became crowded at the time of his writing, often by lesser authors who nonetheless achieved the publicity needed to produce success. Indeed, as is the case with many great writers, an enhanced and wider appreciation of Theodore Weesner s catalogue will undoubtedly grow following his departure from the scene. His short works have previously been published in the "New Yorker," "Esquire," "Saturday Evening Post," "Atlantic Monthly"and "Best American Short Stories." Likewise, his novels appeared in the "New York Times," "The Washington Post," "Harper s," "The Boston Globe," "USA Today," "The Chicago Tribune," and "The Los Angeles Times." During his lifetime Weesner received the New Hampshire Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement, whilst "The Car Thief"won for him the Great Lakes Writers Prize, and "The True Detective"was cited in 1987 by the American Library Association as a notable book of that year. He was also the recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities awards. A perfectionist, Theodore Weesner did meticulous research, and was never afraid of going back over and re-writing his work before publication, believing in the maxim the great novel isn't written, it's rewritten ."

Praise For…


"One of the great coming-of-age novels of the twentieth century… Ted Weesner’s seminal novel demands a second look for its marvelously rendered young protagonist, the unforgettable Alex Housman; for its courage and wisdom and great good heart."—Jennifer Haigh, New York Times Bestselling Author of Broken Towers, Faith, Mrs. Kimple and The Condition

“Remarkable, gripping…"
Joyce Carol Oates, Author of Them, The Wheel of Love, and Wonderland

“Weesner’s perfectly restrained and subtle exploration of the characters’ painful and often difficult emotions caused me to have an intimate and emotional connection to a character and story of such a seemingly distant world. It taught me that even the most personal of stories can be universal and it is with this belief that I have adapted The Car Thief into what I hope will be a film that does some justice to the most beautiful novel that ever broke my heart.”
Dara Van Dusen, Filmmaker

The Car Thief is a poignant and beautiful written novel, so true and so excruciatingly painful that one can’t read it without feeling the knife’s cruel blade in the heart.”
Margaret Manning, The Boston Globe

“A simply marvelous novel. Alex (the protagonist) emerges from it as a kind of blue-collar Holden Caulfield.”
Kansas City Star

“Weesner lays out a subtle and complex case study of juvenile delinquency that wrenches the heart. The novel reminds me strongly of the poignant aimlessness of Truffaut’s The 400 Blows. Beneath its quiet surface, The Car Thief—like its protagonist—possesses churning emotions that push up through the prose for resolution. Weesner is definitely a man to watch—and read.”
S. K. Oberbeck, Newsweek

“The measure of Weesner’s very great achievement is that he has endowned [his characters’] lives with such compelling interest and, even more, a certain beauty.”
The Boston Globe

“What The Car Thief is really concerned with emerges between its realistic lines—slowly, delicately, with consummate art. Perhaps Mr. Weesner himself put it best: ‘In my work, I guess I wish for nothing so much as to get close enough to things to feel their heart and warmth and pain, and in that way appreciate them a little more.’ Judging from this book, his wish has been fulfilled... and then some.”
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

Product Details
ISBN: 9781938231001
ISBN-10: 1938231007
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions
Publication Date: January 2013
Pages: 400
Language: English