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Jim Thompson

Born in 1906 in Arkansas, Jim Thompson's work shares literary ties with several american traditions but the man has been mostly overlooked, only episodically recognised.

After spending his early years in the Depression era Texas, working small jobs and experiencing failure, the disruption of his family and alcoholism at a very young age, Thompson turned to writing crime fiction for pulp magazines and cheap collections, a ghetto that fed him but also condemned him to oblivion. The vogue of the film noir allowed him to work for Hollywood : he wrote [B]The Killing[/B] and [B]Paths of Glory[/B] for Stanley Kubrick, but only got credited for additional dialogue, finding himself trapped subsequently in writing unproduced screenplays, teleplays (and the novelisation of [B]Ironside[/B]) and novels. His last years are a long descent into alcoholism and debt, barely relieved by a late recognition by french critics and fans. He died in 1977 after a colourful but terrible existence.

His stories mostly revolve around the sick destinies of losers, small time grifters or stone psychopaths. They have the fateful quality of greek tragedies, shifting relentlessly from the depressing daily life of lower class people to the hell of crime, profanation and madness, while maintaining a tone of absurd humour. Thompson's masterpiece is arguably [B]The killer inside me[/B], and many of his books use common themes and settings, but each of them is a nail in coffin of common decency, social conventions and hope in the human race. He also published short stories (including a wonderful text about his alcoholism titled [B]An alcoholic looks at himself[/B]) and a two-volume autobiography ([B]Bad Boy[/B] and [B]Roughneck[/B]). My personal favourite is [B]Pop. 1280[/B], one of the funniest books I read.

[URL=][B]Coup de Torchon[/B], the adaptation of [B]Pop. 1280[/B][/URL]
[URL=][B]Série Noire[/B], the adaptation of [B]A Hell of a Woman[/B][/URL]
[URL=][B]The Grifters[/B][/URL]