Described as “one of the great coming of age novels of the Twentieth Century,” and as an “undiscovered American classic,” Theodore Weesner’s poignant coming-of-age novel, The Car Thief is poised for a new generation to discover. Once released to wide critical acclaim, The Car Thief, like the vast majority of print editions, was deemed to have “lost its shelf life” decades ago, and was summarily dropped and ignored by the larger publishing establishment.
But now, new Digital First Publisher, Astor + Blue Editions promises to “revive Weesner’s readership and keep it alive indefinitely” through its specialized “Digital First Platform” (DFP). In the spirit of DFP, Astor + Blue Editions releases The Car Thief in Digital E-Book format, through all major online retailers—notably Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBook/iPad), Kobo, Sony, Overdrive—before the release of the Custom Print Version, due out next month.
“The Car Thief represents the quintessential Astor + Blue title,” says COO Tony Viardo. “It’s a book that rises to the level of true literature, yet wasn’t given the chance to find its full audience, mostly because of limited capacity and narrow-minded publishing traditions. But now, through digital technology and the internet, this classic title can find and sustain the audience it deserves once and for all.”
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.
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.
This was a large departure from what I typically read but I am really glad that I did. The Car Thief presented a very real take on this young man’s life and the challenges that he was faced with. It also gave me a different look at what the judicial system at that time and how situations were dealt with. This was not at all what I expected. It was a solid coming to age story and it was written in a very real and believable manner. I was drawn to this book initially because I live just 40 minutes from this area so I was interested in the local history. I loved being in the position of being able to identify the area and recognize street names and town. I enjoyed the writing style and for the the biggest factor was how real it felt.