NB: A version of this post also appears at The Violent World of Parker.
Over at The Violent World of Parker, Trent's been rounding up links to reviews of Levi Stahl's excellent Donald E. Westlake nonfiction miscellany The Getaway Car – and if you haven't grabbed yourself a copy of that fine tome yet, why not? – but I've come across a few additional bits and bobs in the wake of its publication last month which I reckon might be worth a moment of your time.
There's a piece by William Kristol at the Wall Street Journal site (if you hit a paywall via that link, try Googling it and going in that way) titled "In Praise of Westlake", in which Kristol, well, praises Westlake, and along the way praises Levi's book too. It's a nicely written article, a good primer for anyone coming to Westlake afresh, which I realise probably won't include many people reading this post, but still – I enjoyed it.
Paul Westlake has posted a personal and heartfelt tribute to Levi's book at DonaldWestlake.com, in which he reminisces about his dad "making a manual Smith-Corona sound like a machine gun with the hiccups" and reflects on how his father "had dry spells, he had bills, and kids, and more bills, and more kids. He had no backup plan. If he didn’t write, and get paid for writing, there was nothing else. The next line in that sequence is blank. His vocation was, and was always to be, writing. If the variety of his published works didn’t make that apparent, [The Getaway Car] surely will." Paul also kindly nods to both The Violent World of Parker and Existential Ennui, and more importantly to a man who played a key role in the genesis of The Getaway Car, Ethan Iverson. Speaking of whom...
I've referenced Ethan's excellent overview of Westlake's oeuvre, "A Storyteller That Got the Details Right", numerous time over the years; when I was first getting into Parker and Stark and Westlake five years ago, Ethan's guide proved indispensable, and I still look it up on a regular basis. And just the other day when I was doing so again I realised Ethan had updated it, adding his blog post from April 2014 about what he and and Levi found rooting through Westlake's attic, and further embellishing the piece here and there. Even if you've read Ethan's essay before, I heartily recommend reacquainting yourself with it; almost every time I go to it I find something new – in this instance, literally.