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A Fan's Notes Paperback – Aug 12 1988


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (Aug. 12 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679720766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679720768
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #68,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Frederick Exley recounts his life as the son of a hero-worshipped high school athlete who is doomed to be a spectator not only of sports, but of life. From irresponsible drifter, to dreamer of impossible dreams, to drunkard, to frequent patient at an insane asylum, Exley carried baggage from his childhood through much of his adult life, never feeling he could escape the dark cloud of expectation that hung over him. When Frank Gifford, former New York Giants backfield star, is injured, Exley is jolted into painful realizations about his life, and a confession.

Review

"A Fan's Notes is one man's life written with brilliance and insight. No one should have had Exley's life, and no one who has read it can forget it" -- James Dickey "Writers of every kind of aesthetic and cultural persuasion talk about it and press it on their friends. When I urge it on a friend who asks what it is about or what it is like, I say read it, just read it" -- Geoffrey Wolff "Astonishing... It is visceral and intimate. Self-absorbed, it is also searingly perceptive about what happens between fathers and sons, men and women" Independent --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Burks on Jan. 30 2003
Format: Paperback
A Fan's Notes is one of the best books I have ever read. This guy is amazing. Keep a dictionary handy--it's well worth it. Some say this book is more sad than funny. I disagree wholeheartedly. A conventional life is what's sad. Mr. Exley-- drunken sot or not, is beyond eloquent. The writing is beautiful and the story is thought provoking. When I read the last sentence I felt a tangle of strong emotions that I still have not, nor do I care to, unravel. Thank God for people like Frederick Exley. Get rid of what you think you know about living a successful life and just enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8 2004
Format: Paperback
Fred Exley's 1968 book, A Fan's Notes, has the unfortunate status of being one of those books that you can go your whole life and never read. This book, Exley's first, was his best, and although it stirred up the literary world when it was released, it has been more overlooked in the wake of Exley's disappointing follow-ups, his personal problems, and his death in 1992. Exley went from being a talented young writer to being an ex-writer. When when he was good, man oh man, he was good. The guy could write.
A Fan's Notes is savagely funny and honest, delightfully written, and shockingly blunt in its dissection of mainstream American values. The book is what one might call these days "memoir," although in 1968 such a genre wasn't quite clearly recognized, and so people didn't know if the Fred Exley in the book was the "real" Fred Exley who wrote the book. Not that we should care about such trifles as the facts when compelling literature is at stake.
Suffice it to say that Notes is Exley's chilling, charming telling of his alcoholism, his loves and successes and losses, his madness, and his obsession with "winners and losers" in life, among other things. A parade of grotesques move through this book, representations of men and women who all reflect and refract sets of values that Exley flirts with but ultimately cannot engage with. Rather than play the game of the American Dream, he prefers to remain, for the most part, on the outside, taking notes.
Even if Exley wrote only one book his whole life, he should have been happy with A Fan's Notes. Anyone who relishes concise, intelligent, entertaining literature should take notes on Notes. It's truly an amazing book, very personal and very memorable. Another quick Amazon pick I'd like to recommend is The Losers Club by Richard Perez
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Nov. 10 2003
Format: Paperback
I read this book with fevered passion, and had I not just read it I wouldn't be using the expression "fevered passion." A Fan's Notes is full of raw emotion, a story of a man's narcissistic self-absorption and unexpected generosity. Exley spends as much time weaving loving portraits of other cast-offs as he dwells on his own tortured mind.
Exley is my long lost father's contemporary. I cried through the first twenty pages because I thought I was listening to my father think and talk.
Like Exley, my father was not afraid of words and elaborate phrasing. He shared Exley's almost ridiculously extensive vocabulary, using words one would only encounter leafing through a dictionary. He spoke in convoluted phrases that sounded more like written language than speech. My father was a drinker and a caustic critic of conformity. He shared Exley's rejection of everything and Exley's sudden bursts of sentimentality. My father did not want to be a "success," he did not want to be "the family man," he did not want to be the "professional man" he did not want to be anything but a living, slightly drunk refusal of middle class American life. Better self-destruction than compromise in an ugly world. Like Exley, he was not the greatest husband or father. He was too busy trashing his life with his relentless nihilism.
My father was also manic depressive, or as they say today, bipolar. As far as I can tell, Exley is too.
In many ways this book reads as the memoir of a man struck by mental illness. Manic depressives have rapid flights of speech, often using elaborate phrasing and a wide range of words. In manic phases they are known to move from place to place, city to city (Chicago, Colorado, Florida).
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By A Customer on Nov. 15 2003
Format: Paperback
A Fan's Notes is savagely funny and honest, delightfully written, and shockingly blunt in its dissection of mainstream American values. The book is what one might call these days 'memoir,' although in 1968 such a genre wasn't quite clearly recognized, and so people didn't know if the Fred Exley in the book was the 'real' Fred Exley who wrote the book. Suffice it to say that Notes is Exley's chilling, charming telling of his alcoholism, his loves and successes and losses, his madness, and his obsession with football and Frank Gifford, among other things. A parade of grotesques move through this book, representations of men and women who all reflect and refract sets of values that Exley flirts with but ultimately cannot engage with. Rather than play the game of the American Dream, he prefers to remain, for the most part, on the outside, taking notes. This is a one-of-a-kind American Masterpiece. Please read it! Also recommended: Tropic of Cancer by Miller, The Losers' Club by Richard Perez
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