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A Fan's Notesby Frederick Exley
If Bukowski wrote less like Hemingway and more like Nabokov you might get Exley. Or you might get a headache. What Exley did for me was really spell out some of the reasons for being an alcoholic/drug user. He manages to pinpoint his own reasons for misery without making that the point of the book. He tells a great story about what it's like to be a watcher, a fan, and how we come to be at peace with the symptoms of "Nevergonnamakeitbig." As part of the MTV generation and a target of the force-fed dreams of stardom funneled down my throat, I can really relate to the emotions that football, basketball, and other sports aroused in the baby boomer generation not to say that sports-feeding ever stopped. After reading his biography, Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley (by Jonathan Yardley), I came to the conclusion that Exley tried his best to write about what he knew and added some "fiction" to make his own life more interesting. A Fan's Notes speaks to the overwhelming desire to "be somebody" and the endless excuses as to why you "can't right now."
This fictional memoir, the first of an autobiographical trilogy, traces a self-professed failure's nightmarish descent into the underside of American life and his resurrection to the wisdom that emerges from despair. One of the few books that truly captures what it means to be an obsessed sports fan, A Fan's Notes is the perfect book for football season.
Synopses & Reviews
Frederick Exley's inimitable "fictional memoir" A Fan's Notes has assumed the status of a classic since its first publication in 1968. Mordantly and poignantly, Exley describes the profound failures of his life — professional, sexual, and personal. His attempts to find a place for himself in an unaccommodating world take him from the University of Southern California to Chicago — where he meets the dangerously seductive, lovely Bunny Sue Allorgee — to New York City's Greenwich Village saloons, and back to Watertown, his hometown in upstate New York, where he spends months on his mother's living room davenport watching television before undergoing shock treatment at Avalon Valley hospital. Between bars, women, and jobs, Exley exercises his obsession with the New York Giants and their great halfback Frank Gifford, until he at last realizes his life's ambition: writing A Fan's Notes.
"Mr. Exley is a very good writer...there's a lot of wit and bravado in this book, but it's more painful than funny." The Nation
"A Fan's Notes is strong, beautiful, American, one of a kind." Kurt Vonnegut
"A singularyly moving, entertaining, funny book." New York Times
"Writers of every kind of aesthetic and cultural persuasion talk about it with one another, and press it on their friends to read....When I urge A Fan's Notes on a friend who asks what is it about? or what is it like? I say read it, just read it." Geoffrey Wolff, Los Angeles Times
"A welcome reminder of what the basic business of literature and of living really is. All fans of art and life should read it." Jack Kroll, Newsweek
This fictional memoir, the first of an autobiographical trilogy, traces a self professed failure's nightmarish decent into the underside of American life and his resurrection to the wisdom that emerges from despair.
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