Frederick Exley (1 Viewer)


Founding member
I'm rereading "A Fan's Notes" by Frederick Exley at the moment. Is anybody familiar with that novel?

A great book, imho, a lot of weird, bizarre, absurd and simply very funny parts in it. It has some lengths tho, and I had to google who Frank Gifford is because he is mentioned 2 billion times. But besides of that I would definitly recommend it. Hilarious novel. Hunter S. Thompson praised it a lot (for whatever that means).

First published in 1968 it is still not translated into German. I remember reading it years and years ago and thinking, how comes the most stupid and awful crap gets pressed into German translations every season but a novel like that is overlooked? It still is. I would do it myself, had I the money to buy the rights. But so, shit.

They don't know what's good, those pricks.


Art should be its own hammer.
Reaper Crew
Founding member
that's funny. I just bought a copy of that yesterday in a used bookstore. haven't started it yet.


stop the penistry
i was looking forward to reading this for a long time, and when i finally came across a cheap used copy i was pretty excited. but i just could not get into it - i found it dragged a lot and it felt like a really tedious read.


Founding member
Rereading I too catch the boring parts more than the first time.

I think the main problem is it's attempt to be too well written. It's a very novely novel, richly and conventionally narrated and etc. This somehow dilutes the parts of despair, isolation and raw madness it's trying to embody.

But there are great Holden-Caulfield-esque scenes.

[Spoilers ahead]

Like the one when he suddenly finds himself in the middle of this incredible handsome and all-american-family in the subway and is invited to watch the football game with them but then has to cheer along with them exactly the way the moronic all-american-father does.

Or the scene where he is sitting on the roof of his flat writing long loveletters to this girl, such huge letters that his roommate and his friends believe he's writing a novel and every now and then one of them sticks his head out of the window and shouts: "Put a lot of fucking in it, Ex! - t'wont sell otherwise!"


I read somewhere that HST said it's a great book because it was "breaking all the rules". What rules, I wonder? Certainly not the rules of conventionally writing at that time. It should break more of them. I guess HST meant the attack of the American Life, American Dream and so fort. But this attack would have been more successful if Exley had put more madness into the writing itself (like HST) than trying to express it through some boring and too well articulated prose.


Founding member
But critique that is wrapped in the standards and norms of "good" writing is far more subversive than something like a "gonzo" book. It reaches an audience that wouldn't touch something that was more rough and noisy.


Founding member
That's true but it doesn't feel subversive in that way. I think it was written like that simply to find a publisher (which seemed to be difficult enough from what I've read).

I don't know. Read it if you ever get your hands on it and have the time. I'd be interested in (all) your opinions.

The content is very interesting, mad and in parts extremly funny, imho. The writing isn't really.

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