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Book Title: A Frolic of His Own|
The author of the book: William Gaddis
Date of issue: February 10th 1995
ISBN 13: 9780684800523
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 655 KB
Read full description of the books A Frolic of His Own:With the publication of the "Recognitions" in 1955, William Gaddis was hailed as the American heir to James Joyce. His two subsequent novels, "J R" (winner of the National Book Award) and "Carpenter's Gothic," have secured his position among America's foremost contemporary writers. Now "A Frolic of His Own," his long-anticipated fourth novel, adds more luster to his reputation, as he takes on life in our litigious times. "Justice? - You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law." So begins this mercilessly funny, devastatingly accurate tale of lives caught up in the toils of the law. Oscar Crease, middle-aged college instructor, savant, and playwright, is suing a Hollywood producer for pirating his play Once at Antietam, based on his grandfather's experiences in the Civil War, and turning it into a gory blockbuster called The Blood in the Red White and Blue. Oscar's suit, and a host of others - which involve a dog trapped in an outdoor sculpture, wrongful death during a river baptism, a church versus a soft drink company, and even Oscar himself after he is run over by his own car - engulf all who surround him, from his freewheeling girlfriend to his well-to-do stepsister and her ill-fated husband (a partner in the white-shoe firm of Swyne & Dour), to his draconian, nonagenarian father, Federal Judge Thomas Crease, who has just wielded the long arm of the law to expel God (and Satan) from his courtroom. And down the tortuous path of depositions and decrees, suits and countersuits, the most lofty ideas of our culture - questions about the value of art, literature, and originality - will be wrung dry in the meticulous, often surreal logic and language of the law,leaving no party unscathed. Gaddis has created a whirlwind of a novel, which brilliantly reproduces the Tower of Babel in which we conduct our lives. In "A Frolic of His Own" we hear voices as they speak at and around one another: lawyers, family members, judges, rogues, hucksters, and desperate
Read information about the authorWilliam Gaddis was the author of five novels. He was born in New York December 29, 1922. The circumstances why he left Harvard in his senior year are mysterious. He worked for The New Yorker for a spell in the 1950s, and absorbed experiences at the bohemian parties and happenings, to be later used as material in The Recognitions. Travel provided further resources of experience in Mexico, in Costa Rica, in Spain and Africa and, perhaps strangest to imagine of him, he was employed for a few years in public relations for a pharmaceutical corporation.
The number of printed interviews with Gaddis can be counted on one hand: he wondered why anyone should expect an author to be at all interesting, after having very likely projected the best of themselves in their work. He has been frequently compared with Joyce, Nabokov, and especially Pynchon.
Gaddis’s first novel, The Recognitions (1955) is a 956-page saga of forgery, pretension, and desires misguided and inexpressible. Critical response to the book ranged from cool to hostile, but in most cases (as Jack Green took pains to show in his book of rebuke, Fire the Bastards!). Reviewers were ill-prepared to deal with the challenge, and evidently many who began to read The Recognitions did not finish. The novel’s sometimes great leaps in time and location and the breadth and arcane pedigree of allusions are, it turns out, fairly mild complications for the reader when compared with what would become the writer’s trademark: the unrestrained confusion of detached and fragmentary dialogue.
Gaddis’s second book, JR (1975) won the National Book Award. It was only a 726 pages long driven by dialogue. The chaos of the unceasing deluge of talk of JR drove critics to declare the text “unreadable”. Reading Gaddis is by no means easy, but it is a more lacerating and artfully sustained attack on capitalism than JR, and The Recognitions.
Carpenter's Gothic (1985) offered a shorter and more accessible picture of Gaddis's sardonic worldview. The continual litigation that was a theme in that book becomes the central theme and plot device in A Frolic of His Own (1994)—which earned him his second National Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. There are even two Japanese cars called the Isuyu and the Sosumi.
His final work was the novella Agapē Agape which was published in 2002. Gaddis died at home in East Hampton, New York, of prostate cancer on December 16th, 1998.
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