Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Fool's Progress by Edward Abbey. The Fool's Progress, the "fat masterpiece" as Edward Abbey labeled it, is his most important piece of writing: it reveals the complete Ed Abbey, from the green grass of his memory as a child in Appalachia to his approaching death in Tuscon at age sixty two.
When his third wife abandons him in Tucson, boozing, misanthropic anarchist Henry Holyoak Lightcap shoots his refrige The Fool's Progress, the "fat masterpiece" as Edward Abbey labeled it, is his most important piece of writing: it reveals the complete Ed Abbey, from the green grass of his memory as a child in Appalachia to his approaching death in Tuscon at age sixty two.
When his third wife abandons him in Tucson, boozing, misanthropic anarchist Henry Holyoak Lightcap shoots his refrigerator and sets off in a battered pick-up truck for his ancestral home in West Virginia. Accompanied only by his dying dog and his memories, the irascible warhorse a stand-in for the "real" Abbey begins a bizarre cross-country odyssey--determined to make peace with his past--and to wage one last war against the ravages of "progress. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published August 15th by Holt Paperbacks first published More Details Original Title.
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Feb 25, Matt rated it it was amazing Shelves: classic-novels. Recently, a group of my guy friends decided to form a book club. One reason: all our wives were already in one, and we felt the need to exercise our own intellects. The real reason: the NFL is over for the year, and we needed an excuse to drink beer on Sunday. In the abstract, I should love being part of a book club. I like reading. I like to drink. It seems a no-brainer. It causes me to flash back to the trauma of high school English, where a succession of teachers peddling a succession of impenetrable, unwarranted classics, nearly strangle-choked my once-strong love for the written word.
Mr. Ed Leadly
I have two shelves groaning with stacks of unread books. Book I want to get around to reading. Joining a book club was an exercise in relinquishing control. There are millions of books and just as many authors.
The herd is culled by a small elite of tastemakers, so that the same one hundred books end up on the Greatest Books list every time that list gets made. The rest of the time, I get my literary recommendations from Amazon, based on a complex algorithm that utilizes my browsing history and purchasing history and then reaches its hand into my wallet and takes the money I need to buy diapers. My newfound love of this book is that special alchemy of the joy of discovery and the appreciation of great quality.
see He is a nonconformist, a blowhard, a functioning alcoholic, and a serial philanderer. One of the supreme achievements of this novel is finding the vulnerable soul buried deep within the irredeemable jackass. The novel takes place along two different timelines. In this storyline, Henry has just watched his third wife Elaine storm out of the house, leaving him for good.
Henry shoots his refrigerator, packs his few belongings including a hose for siphoning gas , and gets into his pickup truck joined by a dying dog for a cross-country journey back to Appalachia and his brother Will. He spends his nights in dingy motels or camped on the roadside beneath the stars. Along the way, he stops to bid farewell to old friends, whose help Henry adamantly declines. The scope of this second timeline is truly epic.
Here, the quality is the thing. This book is the product of an author at the height of his powers, in control of his material, who is utterly confident in the way he's going to tell the story. When he wants to switch between the first-person point-of-view to the third-person point-of-view on the same page, he does it. The sound of the long ball. Sonny Adams followed by Elman Fetterman came trotting across home plate, dancing in delight.
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Blacklick 21, Stump Creek 20, Stump Creek The home team swarmed with joy around the runners, waiting for the last and winning run. But where exactly was it? That winning run? Where was Red? Red was nowhere. Red was everywhere. Red stood in front of home plate leaning on his bat, watching his first hit of the game vanish into immortality somewhere southwest of Stump Crick. What the hell do you mean, run? What the hell I gotta run round them goldamn bases fer? Mainly, though, I was uniformly wowed.
The dialogue is sharp. The characterizations are memorable. There are gorgeous descriptions of nature. There is a profound melding of the bitter and the sweet, moments that are near laugh-out-loud funny, and moments of sadness that will steal your breath. Abbey peppers his story with audacious set pieces — a requiem of war in Italy; a manic day in a New York City welfare office; a family funeral — that are entirely different from each other in tone, setting, and content, yet act together to envelop you into a fully-formed story.
I could go on. I could take all day listing my favorite scenes. And it does. Everything in this book works. All the different threads and stories and characters who weave in and out like the stitches of a quilt. There is always something more to make of a book. I connected with this book on a much simpler level.
Life is all those things, so a good book about life has to include them too. View all 5 comments. Feb 19, Harper rated it it was amazing. Edward Abbey is a dirty old man. Backwoods, racist, sexist, libertarian, dirty old man.
I love him. I would proudly have his babies. This may be the best summary of this book ever.
Really it's beautiful. Makes me homesick for the desert and the kind of rugged individualism and anti authoritarianism that Abbey represents so well. Makes me realize that coming home is a powerfully healing thing to do. Jun 27, Numidica rated it really liked it. This is a hard book to rate.
THE HISTORY OF TOM FOOL.
Abbey is at his best when describing nature, or his love of nature, or his love of baseball, or his sentimental memories of growing up in rural America in the book, West Virginia, in reality, western PA. Many parts of the book are laugh out loud funny, and Abbey's writing is entertaining most of the way through. But his dislike of cities devolves into something approaching racism, and his description of women must be viewed through the lens of how he actually lived This is a hard book to rate. But his dislike of cities devolves into something approaching racism, and his description of women must be viewed through the lens of how he actually lived.
Abbey was a serial philanderer, and was not good to his wives, by the accounts of both the ex-wives and his friends. His constant cultural references to philosophers, musicians, authors seem almost the nervous tic of a man suffering from a lack of confidence in his education, though I'll admit he sent me to Wikipedia a few times to look up this or that obscure artwork or author; in the end, those parts of the book are not the strongest.
And his protagonist's constant drinking again the semi-biographical nature of the book makes the more temperate among us shake our heads, even if we can relate. And yet I have not read Desert Solitaire, considered by many his master work, but I will when I have time, because I do share his love of the woods, nature, wild things, and wilderness.
And Abbey's writing flows easily for the reader, so there's that.
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