December 09 , 2009

The Car Thief


It’s 1959. Sixteen year-old Alex Housman has just stolen his fourteenth car and frankly doesn’t know why. His divorced, working class, father grinds out the night shift at the local Chevy Plant in Detroit, looking forward to the flask in his glove compartment, and the open bottles of booze in his Flint, Michigan home. Abandoned and alone, father and son struggle to express a deep love for each other, even as Alex fills his day juggling cheap thrills and a crushing depression. He cruises and steals, running from-and then forcing run-ins with-the police, compelled by reasons he frustratingly can’t put into words. And then there’s Irene Shaeffer, the pretty girl in school whose admiration Alex needs like a drug in order to get by. Broke and fighting to survive, Alex and his father face the realities of estrangement, incarceration, and even violence as their lives unfold toward the climactic episode that a ‘New York Times’ reviewer called “one of the most profoundly powerful in American fiction.”

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