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Summary

First published as an unheralded paperback original, Pick-Up is an authentic underground classic, an explosive bulletin from the urban underbelly of mid-1950s America. It was Charles Willeford’s second novel, after a rough and wandering earlier life that had taken him from Depression-era hobo camps and soup kitchens to wartime battlefields. The unblinking story of two lost and self-destructive drifters - a failed painter working as a counterman in a cheap diner and a woman in flight from domestic violence - trying to find a place for themselves in the back streets of San Francisco, Pick-Up is hardboiled writing at its nihilistic best: Willeford’s preferred title for the book was Until I Am Dead. Its bleak vision of life beyond the edge is haunted by rape, racism, alcoholism, suicide, and inescapable poverty, yet shot through with a tenderness and compassion sustained against all odds in a society offering few breaks to its outcasts and misfits. Pick-Up’s many twists and violent turns culminate in an ending that continues to surprise, confirming it as what critic Woody Haut has called “a razor-sharp narrative that rips open the genre”.

©1967 Softcover Library, Inc. (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

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Absolutely Brilliant Noir

My first novel of Willoughby's and it will not be my last. Brutal, visceral, and so real. And the last line... WOW!!!

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Amazing book

At first I thought the guy reading the book was a bit too sullen for a Charles Willeford book but he's absolutely perfect. Captures the mood completely and is compelling listening. The story is a little dark but there are plenty of funny moments and the writing is beautiful.
Absolutely worth a listen and you'll be a better person because of it

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  • Vincent
  • 31-10-21

one of CWs best

Earlier Willeford thay is one of his strongest. didnt love the narrator at first but he settled in and ended up being very good i thought. the novel is fantastic with an explosive ending that made me want to pick up the book and do it all over again

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