Nightfall (1956)

David Goodis
Lion Books

In his introduction to the most recent reprinting of Nightfall (Centipede, 2007), Bill Pronzini makes the case that this is Goodis' "most accomplished" novel. How this is a better read than Cassidy's Girl (1951) or Black Friday (1954) or Down There (1956) is hard to say, but pulp taste is probably even more relative than legit taste. This is definitely one of the more strangely plotted of his books, Goodis at times having his protagonist Jim Vanning experience two different spatio-temporal orders mapped atop one another as he tries to piece together what the hell is happening to him. The ending is both dreamlike and yet slightly forced, but that doesn't necessarily negate the pleasure of following the semi-amnesiatic probably doomed Vanning as he wanders around Manhattan consumed with guilt and inexplicably in love with a girl he just met who quite possibly will mean his death.

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