Fat City follows retired boxer Billy Tully and up-and-comer Ernie Munger. They meet briefly in the opening and go on very different paths throughout this dark, gritty, and beautiful novel. This is one of those underrated, lost books that you put down and wonder why you'd never heard of it before; why aren't more people reading this? It was Gardner's only novel, but one is all you need when you write a story as perfect as this. Recommended By Jeffrey J., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
"The book reveals a vision of a whole stratum of American life which up to now has been more often sentimentalized, exploited, patronized and feared by even those writers who come from it and know it best. . . . The pathetic and yet not ignoble hopes of the boxers, the dead weight of pointless labor, the fragile wisps of feeling fluttering mothlike around people too timid to love and too lonely not to try."Frank Conroy
"He has got it exactly rightthe hanging around gas stations, the field dust, the relentless oppressiveness of the weather, the bleak liaisons sealed on levees and Greyhound buses. . . .Fat City affected me more than any new fiction I've read in a long while."Joan Didion
Originally published in 1969, Fat City is an American classic whose stature has increased over the years. Made into an acclaimed film by John Huston, the book is set in and around Stockton, California.
Fat City is a novel set in the world of small-time boxing in Stockton, California in the 1950s. Leonard Gardner's deeply affecting portrayal of the anxieties and hopes of his characters achieves an unexpected universality that reaches out to readers well beyond the bounds of this world. The conviction, authenticity, and economy of means that characterize the novel found wide admiration among reviewers upon its first publication in 1969. Subsequently made into a film by John Huston, Fat City is an American classic.
About the Author
Leonard Gardner was born in Stockton. His writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Esquire, Southwest Review, and other magazines. His screen adaptation of Fat City was made into a film by John Huston. A Guggenheim Fellow, he lives in northern California.