Donald Westlake interview

Donald Westlake interview

Nov 21

The Onion AV Club has an excellent interview with mystery novelist Donald Westlake.

AVC: One school of thought says that “American crime novel” is essentially a working-class genre.

DW: I think it is. The British were doing [crime stories] first, but the British thing is a very different thing. There, the stories are about restoring a break in the fabric of society. The American thing has never been worrying about breaks in the fabric of society, but about people doing their job, whether it’s police procedurals or criminals or whatever. Yeah, that is working-class. Although there’s another thing—years ago, there was a director who going to make a movie from a Richard Stark novel. It never happened, but in our discussions at one point he said, “You know, you write like a Frenchman.” I said, “What does that mean?” He said, “In American mystery novels, the bank robber robs the bank to pay for the operation for the little girl in the wheelchair. In French novels, the bank robber robs banks because he robs banks. You write like a Frenchman.” I said, “I’ll take it.”

Matt, tell Hockensmith to hurry up on his third book – if the second is out in March, I’ll be looking for something new to read by April.

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