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Now and on Earth

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3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  599 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
An underaged bellboy thrust into an awful intimacy with grown-up vice. An alcoholic writer trying to postpone a crack-up just long enough to finish his next book. A wildly dysfunctional Okie family floundering on the edge of mutual destruction amid the deceptive plenty of wartime California.

These are the ingredients of Jim Thompson's devastating and eerily autobiographical
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320 pages
Published February 1st 1994 by Vintage (first published 1942)
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1984 by George OrwellThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerAnimal Farm by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Cult Classics
316th out of 628 books — 867 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,422)
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Trixie Fontaine
Lately all roads have been trying to lead me to Jim Thompson, so I was pretty excited when I found this book at the bottom of a stack; I forgot I bought/had it and had no expectations for it. The description on the back cover had me picturing something much darker than what wound up being sweeter and funnier than that. Not that it's a sweet and funny story, just sweetER and funnIER than I anticipated.

It was incredibly mundane and domestic - poetically so. The detailed workday descriptions remind
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Dominick
Sep 05, 2013 Dominick rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
I liked this book, probably more than it deserves to be liked, given its odd shapelessness--though that, of course, is part of its point: life is plotless, just one damn thing afer another as one is slowly and inevitably ground down. Jim Thompson's first novel is, basically, a literary novel written as it if were a pulp novel, sort of a "what if Faulkner wrote clear concise sentences?" kind of thing (at one point the book actually cites a story by Robert Heinlein as one of the best pieces of wri ...more
Neil
Feb 16, 2011 Neil rated it it was ok
contains an introduction by stephen king with a great quote about jim thompson:
"the literature of a healthy society needs proctologists as much as brain surgeons"

this wasn't thompson's usual noir, but rather a semi-autobiographical novel about
old school family, i.e. extended, all living in the same house, often drinking,
sometimes fighting (oddly enough, usually when NOT drinking), any barely getting
by on one salary from a horrible job, but with a deep sense of responsibility
despite many setbacks
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Cheri
Oct 28, 2014 Cheri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't the kind of book I'd ordinarily enjoy, but it surprised me. On the surface it's a rather plodding tale of a blue collar guy trying to support his family, while pushing his artistic ambitions to one side. While this sounds a bit plotless (and it is) Thompson also has a way with his writing that makes the mundane into something beautiful, despite the grimness of the subject matter. I think it's easy to relate with a character bent on doing the "right thing" even as it crushes his soul. ...more
Chrissieskleinewelt
Rezi: http://chrissies-kleine-welt.de/?p=1499

James Dillon ist ein armer Schlucker. Er kann sich und seine Familie in den 40er Jahren des vergangenen Jahrhunderts gerade so mit seinem ungeliebten Job in einer Flugzeugherstellungsfabrik über Wasser halten, kämpft mit seiner Alkoholsucht und deren Folgen und hat als Schreiberling mit einer absoluten Schreibblockade und einem Haus voller Irrer genug zu tun. Ein Teufelskreislauf, aus dem es scheinbar kein Entrinnen gibt.

In autobiographischer Weise ge
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Ned Mozier
Feb 08, 2014 Ned Mozier rated it liked it
Told purely from the harried and psychologically damaged mind of Jimmy Dillon, who struggles mightily to establish himself a writer in newly entered California. But he has a large, demanding wife and family and his own sisters and mother to keep. He struggles to keep up his writing craft, with pressure from those around him with their own misanthropic issues and mental instabilities, including an institutionalized father back home carrying the shame of professional failures. This was Thompson's ...more
Emilio
Dec 24, 2014 Emilio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patrick Bair
Dec 25, 2014 Patrick Bair rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A different kind of novel from a different kind of writer. I love Jim Thompson.
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en http://lecturaylocura.com/una-recopil...

Una recopilación de novelas de Jim Thompson. La escisión de la identidad

Aprovechando que acabo de terminar la biografía del escritor norteamericano, una joya de la que tendréis noticias en este blog en no mucho tiempo; se me ocurrió la posibilidad de hacer un pequeño monográfico con las obras que me quedaban por leer del escritor; ha valido mucho la pena, sobre todo porque gracias al análisis de la biografía, es indudable que ayudan a disfruta
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Sean
Oct 07, 2013 Sean rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
Back around 1996, I picked up Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson by Robert Polito, shortly after it won a couple of awards for best biographical work. I started reading that book which I founded engrossing but decided to put it aside until I read ALL of Thompson’s published works so I wouldn’t “spoil” the experience by having all the plots revealed in the critical biography. Distracted by life and other manifestations of obsessive compulsion, I quickly put that “project” aside, until almos ...more
Andy
Jan 24, 2015 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now And On Earth is Jim Thompson's very first novel and those expecting the usual nightmare noir from him won't find it here. This is more like a John Fante novel or a Bukowski Factotum/Ham On Rye-styled novel. In fact, Now And On Earth would make a good companion piece to Factotum, wine guzzling and all.
Caroline
Apr 07, 2016 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jim Thompson's 'Now and on Earth' was a revelation. This first novel is not a smidge like the noir tales of scheming and grifting he's known for but I recognized Jim's style and voice from page one. By page two I was hooked. Around page 10 I wondered why I'd never come across this book before.
Rebecca McNutt
Now and on Earth is a very unique book and I loved reading it. It follows the life of a man living through the horror of WWII and it captures the emotion and atmosphere of the era very well.
SallyJo
Jul 17, 2013 SallyJo rated it liked it
Going through old Jim Thompson books, hopefully in order of publication. One word: DARK. Wait - one more word: DEPRESSING.

Ok, given those are pretty much "givens" for him, "Now and on Earty" is actually a pretty interesting book, especially taken as a period piece. A quasi-personal introspection of a time in his own life, this is set in San Diego in the early 1940's/WWII, and a graphic snapshot of a hard life, hard living and simply hard times.

Admittedly, I read it in spurts, with more light r
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Rachel Mykkanen
Jan 15, 2015 Rachel Mykkanen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
Maybe my dissertation made me sweet on it, but this novel provides a dark and compelling portrait of the WWII American homefront, but with fewer Victory gardens and more Tijuana abortions.
Debra
Sep 09, 2011 Debra marked it as to-read
Stephen King recommended author and introduction. In the introduction to Now and on Earth, Stephen King says he most admires Thompson's work because "The guy was over the top. The guy was absolutely over the top. Big Jim didn't know the meaning of the word stop. There are three brave lets inherent in the forgoing: he let himself see everything, he let himself write it down, then he let himself publish it."

“He was crazy,” Stephen King, a long-time admirer of Thompson, says. “He went running into
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Patrick Hester
Apr 26, 2016 Patrick Hester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the typical Jim Thompson story. Which turned out great in my opinion. I think this was one of his first books.
Jason
Aug 17, 2015 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.

Very reminiscent of Bukowski and early Fante. The novel gets a little slow when describing working in the aircraft factory, but generally right up my alley.
Juan Pinilla
Un gran escritor, aunque esta obra, autobiográfica y deshilachada no es de lo mejor...
Coolnick
Jan 07, 2015 Coolnick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this was the first Jim Thompson novel that was widely published. I really enjoyed the airplane plant background story and the gritty details of the main character. A great read overall.
Tedopon
Dec 31, 2007 Tedopon rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: you
Shelves: fiction
Jim Thompson lived a hard life... This is his first full novel, and is pretty much his life with the serial numbers filed off. A good read so far, but a lot different than his standard fare. The Stephen King forward is definitely out of place, seems to be a generic praise piece for Thompson and had nothing to do with the book itself.
This one is less hard assed Thompson, and more personal than his later work. It's just a good read about a guy with little direction trying to raise a family that's
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Asha Thomas
irritating!!!
David
Jun 24, 2008 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: noirboiled
Plodding, structurally inept debut novel by Jim Thompson. He gives expository flashbacks right up until the end of the narrative, as if sooner or later the plot will finally get going. But it never does. I suspect that part of Thompson's problem may have been the autobiographical nature of the work--he seems not to have enough distance from his material to figure out anything interesting to do with it. But he would solve this problem in later books.
Casey
Mar 24, 2016 Casey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thompson has long been one of my favorites, but this was my first look at his debut novel. It is a tense, uncomfortable story of a struggling writer, appropriately enough -- a guy who started a family before he started his career and seems to sometimes regret it. Incredibly fluid, vivid writing taps deep wells of complicated emotion.
Geof
Jan 18, 2014 Geof rated it did not like it
This book was all over the place and a complete mess. While I am a huge Thompson fan, this one is almost unreadable.
Shruts
Apr 12, 2012 Shruts rated it really liked it
Wow, I love Jim Thompson- Once and On Earth is as fresh today as it must have when written in 1942. A down-on-the-luck factory worker in a WWII arms factory watches as his family implodes, with major contributions from him of course. Very dark, but can it possibly have a happy ending? Read.

The really good news- Thompson wrote 13 more books I have not yet found in our public library. The Hunt Is On!
Lukas Persson
Jul 16, 2012 Lukas Persson rated it really liked it
This book was surprisingly interesting for being such a small, and simple little story, so close to Thompson's actual life. But I was truly able to relate to so much in this book, which was interesting, being that it was published in 1942. Different from his popular work, this one is much more personal, and grounded in a real world that I could see Mr. Thompson living through.
Susan
May 19, 2009 Susan rated it it was ok
I liked this at first and got 3/4 through it... but then reached a point of really disliking all of the characters, and I haven't wanted to pick it up again. Boooo, am I a wimpy person who needs to like the characters in a story? How disappointing, but maybe true at this point. I paid my literary dues in college. ;)
todd
Oct 25, 2007 todd rated it liked it
interesting first novel by thompson. unlike many of the characters in thompson's subsequent work, the protagonist is not trying to conceal any heinous, pathological behavior. maybe i can only say that because the red scare seems so long ago. still, the atmosphere is palpably oppressive, and i found myself on edge.
Brian
Aug 18, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Entertaining and thoughtful, though his writing is as sharp and fine-tuned as it was later. Had some political underpinnings I appreciated, which he gave up later, and was definitely far removed from his more sexual themes later as well. Still messed up though, don't get me wrong!
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Myers Thompson was a United States writer of novels, short stories and screenplays, largely in the hardboiled style of crime fiction.

Thompson wrote more than thirty novels, the majority of which were original paperback publications by pulp fiction houses, from the lat
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