Winner of the 2019 H.R.F. Keating Award
Originally published by Gryphon Books in 1993, Difficult Lives was one of the earliest attempts to track the legacy of original paperback writers such as Jim Thompson, David Goodis and Chester Himes. The individual essays on these three first appeared in literary magazines.
Difficult Lives visits a rare moment when daylight was showing around the seams of American society and visions quite in contrast to the sanctioned version drifted to the surface in books one bought off racks in drugstores and bus stations — stark, bonelike, disturbing books.
We're pleased to make Difficult Lives available again, doubling your pleasure by pairing it with an equal volume of new essays on other crime writers, Derek Raymond, Jean-Patrick Manchette, Patricia Highsmith and Shirley Jackson among them.
'His enthusiasm is generous; his taste impeccable' — Sunday Times Crime Club
'Erudite and informative these essays may be, but they are also crafted with love. Love of an art form that I share. If noir is your Driver, this is for you' — Nudge
'Sallis is a fastidious man, intelligent and widely read. There's nothing slapdash or merely strategic about his work … peculiar and visionary' — Iain Sinclair, London Review of Books