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, kept afloat by 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 to, 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 hurtle toward the climactic episode that a New York Times reviewer called “one of the most profoundly powerful in American fiction.”
In this rich, beautifully crafted story, Weesner accomplishes a rare feat: He’s written a transcendent piece of literature in deceptively plain language, painting a gripping portrait of a father and a son, otherwise invisible among the mundane, everyday details of life in blue collar America.
A true and enduring American classic.
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PRAISE FOR THE CAR THIEF:
"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
“Theodore Weesner has written 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.”
—Joseph McElroy, New York Times
“The Car Thief is a poignant and beautifully-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 remarkable, gripping novel.”
–Joyce Carol Oates, Professor of Humanities and Creative Writing, Princeton University, Pulitzer Prize Nominee, National Book Award Winner, Author of Black Water, What I Lived For, and Blonde
Theodore Weesner, born in Flint, Michigan, is aptly described as a “Writers’ Writer” by the larger literary community. His short works have been published in the New Yorker, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly and Best American Short Stories. His novels, including The True Detective, Winning the City and Harbor Light, have been published to great critical acclaim in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Magazine and The Los Angeles Times to name a few.
Weesner is currently writing his memoir, two new novels, and an adaptation of his widely praised novel—retitled Winning the City Redux—also to be published by Astor + Blue Editions. He lives and works in Portsmouth, NH.