Don Carpenter

Don Carpenter

American writer
Date of Birth: 16.03.1931
Country: USA

  1. Don Carpenter: A Biography
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. Literary Career and Hollywood Influence
  4. Personal Struggles and Late Recognition

Don Carpenter: A Biography

Don Carpenter was an American writer best known for his detective novel 'Hard Rain Falling', which tells the story of orphaned teenager Jack Levitt's adventures. Over his 22-year career, Carpenter wrote numerous novels, novellas, short stories, and screenplays. He began writing from a young age, earning a living in the Pacific Northwest of the United States before gaining strength and influence in Hollywood.

Don Carpenter

Early Life and Career

Don Carpenter was born on March 16, 1931, in Berkeley, California. He spent his early childhood years in Lafayette before moving with his family to Portland, Oregon, at the age of 16. In 1951, Carpenter joined the Air Force and was stationed in Kyoto, Japan. While serving, he wrote for the military newspaper 'Stars and Stripes', which led him to meet the little-known cartoonist Shel Silverstein, who later became famous for his children's books. After leaving the military in 1955, Carpenter returned to Portland, where he secretly married Martha Reichard. The couple had two daughters, Bonnie and Leah. In the late 1950s, the family settled in San Francisco, and in 1957, Don enrolled in City College of San Francisco, earning his degree in 1961. Four years later, the Carpenter family moved to Mill Valley, California, where Don began teaching English.

Don Carpenter

Literary Career and Hollywood Influence

In 1966, after two years of teaching, Carpenter published his debut novel, 'Hard Rain Falling'. The book was praised as a "readable, dark, and masterful debut", with Martin Seymour-Smith stating in a review in 'The Spectator' that it combined an intriguing plot and writing style with a serious purpose and psychological insight.

From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, Carpenter devoted his time to Hollywood, developing various screenplays for film projects. He wrote the screenplay for the movie 'Pay Day' in 1972, starring Rip Torn as Maury Dann, a country singer. Carpenter also wrote an episode for the 1960s TV series 'The High Chaparral'. His works during this period became known as "Hollywood novels".

Personal Struggles and Late Recognition

One of the most distressing moments in Carpenter's life was the suicide of his best friend, Richard Brautigan, in 1984. Brautigan's suicide deeply affected Carpenter. In the late 1980s, Carpenter's health began to deteriorate, and he suffered from several illnesses, including tuberculosis, diabetes, and glaucoma. Despite his declining health, he continued to write. However, after years of suffering, Carpenter took his own life in his Mill Valley home in the summer of 1995, at the age of 64.

Before his death, Carpenter was working on a novel titled 'Fridays at Enrico's', which was later completed by Jonathan Lethem and published by Counterpoint Press in 2014. In the same year, Counterpoint Press released 'The Hollywood Trilogy', a collection of Carpenter's three Hollywood novels.

Fourteen years after his death, Carpenter's debut novel 'Hard Rain Falling' gained renewed interest from readers around the world. The book received a review in the 'Washington Post' in 2009, and a critical article in the 'UK Independent' highlighted his posthumous international recognition.