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The Fool's Progress: An Honest Novel Paperback – Aug 15 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; Reprint edition (Aug. 15 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805057919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805057911
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.3 x 20.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #260,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Just before he died in 1989, Ed Abbey published what he called his "honest novel," one loosely based on his own life. Early in its opening pages, Abbey's alter ego, Lightcap, takes off from his nearly empty home (its contents just removed by a disgruntled spouse) in Tucson, Arizona--but not before shooting his refrigerator, a hated symbol of civilization. Lightcap makes a winding journey by car to his boyhood home in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania, calling on old friends along the road, visiting Indian reservations and out-of-the-way bars, and reminiscing about the triumphs and follies of his life. Readers would be mistaken to view this as pure autobiography, but The Fool's Progress nonetheless is an illuminating look into Abbey's time and his way of thinking, especially on matters of ecology and other social issues. It's also a picaresque tale humorously and artfully told, a book that Abbey himself rightly regarded as one of his best works of fiction. --Gregory McNamee

From Publishers Weekly

Abbey has won a devoted following with such caustic meditations as Desert Solitaire and anarchistic novels like The Brave Cowboy and The Monkey Wrench Gang. None of them, however, could adequately have prepared one for The Fool's Progress , an epic exploration of Abbey's passionate loves and hatreds, set forth in a wild, picaresque novel that reads at times like a combination of Thomas Wolfe and Jack Kerouac. Henry Lightcap is a woodsman's son from a remote corner of West Virginia who has dedicated his life to nature, music, literature and the pursuit of booze and lovely women. He works only as he has to, to afford the things he craveswhich do not include any of the material products of our culture except for the necessary vehicles for his constant wanderings. Like Abbey himself, Lightcap has spent much of his 53 years in the wilderness of the American West, as park ranger or fire watcher, and is at once passionately devoted to the land and full of rage at what late 20th century America has done to it. At the beginning of the book one of his several wives has walked out on him. Typically, Henry shoots the refrigerator, then gathers up his dying dog and begins a despairing odyssey across a lovely but ruined land from Tucson to the Appalachian family farm still run by his brother; penniless, he has nowhere else to go. Along the way we learn of his childhood, his father, his women, his Army experiencesand receive two huge narrative surprises, of a kind not easy to bring off in a book that is essentially a road novel with flashbacks. One involves the only real love of Henry's life, a tale told with aching tenderness and anguish; the other embraces his very existence. At his best Abbey writes with fierce eloquence of landscape and city, of stunted souls and drunken despair; he can be funny and poignant at once, and describes violent action with horrid vividness. At his worst he gets hyperbolic and full of bile, and a savage streak of male chauvinism surfaces. But Henry, and what he represents, seizes hold of the imagination, so that the reader is carried along as irrevocably as Henry's battered truck, lurching along interstates and fading country roads to a windup as absurdly moving as anything you have read in years. 50,000 first printing; author tour.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By eeeeffff on Oct. 24 2003
Format: Paperback
After his third wife leaves him, Henry hops in his truck, his dying dog following faithfully behind, and travels east, (from his small home in Arizona), to the place of his childhood. As he travels, he reminisces upon his past life and past loves. A man unwilling to submit to society, Henry and his beautiful character give a valuable lesson to the reader. Learn from it.
As the book progresses, you learn more and more about Henry, (Henry may be a fool, but Henry is far wiser than the worker in the cubicle). Flirtatious, he is quick to fall deeply in love; extremist, does anything to protect the wilderness; and extravagant, he's a philosopher with no job. He values freedom more than anything else ... and NOT the kind must Americans think of. He takes the freedom to sleep miles from the city, under the stars, for most of the year and to pee in sinks. He takes the freedom to carry around a knife and gut his own goat. He takes the freedom to never have a full time job. (Americans usually take the "freedom" to own a house, SUV, a wife, two happy kids, a stable job and have no ambition other than to retire). He has a love for the West, for the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, the geological formations and the multi-cultural people of Albuquerque. Edward Abbey himself is so present in this novel ... you could call it autobiographical.
This book can tell you so much ... please learn from it. But it's beauty is unusual. I admired Abbey's writing before I read this, but he sweeps up all the common archetypes of literature and life, and puts them all in one classic novel.
Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Edward Abbey died in March of 1989. In the latter part of 1988, he saw his last and perhaps most accomplished work brought to bed at his publishers in New York. The author of many highly controversial works of fiction and non-fiction, best known for his seemingly solitary stand against the ecological destruction of the western American deserts, Abbey's last book effectively completed a cycle. At the same time it was a very close foretelling of his own probable doom.
Abbey was an environmentalist from the beginning. In the East of his youth, he saw strip mines close in on his father's mountain acres. Out West, he witnessed the early preparations being made to dam the Colorado and its tributaries. He rafted down Glen Canyon and saw the hidden valleys filled with a beauty that was soon after to be engulfed. He smelt out the tricky political deals being woven by senators and landowners in the forgotten tracts of the butte country and did his best to expose them. Against all of the attempts to tame this corner of the American wilderness, Abbey railed.
In books ranging from "Desert Solitaire" (1967), a journal of a season in the desert, to "The Monkey Wrench Gang" (1975), an explosive novel of saboteurs versus dambuilders, Abbey argues his points in favour of preserving the canyon country. Having been there "before" and "after," his voice has a compelling authority. To read his account of Glen Canyon before the dam is to be filled with regret at the later spoliation.
In "The Fool's Progress," Abbey gives us something of a summing up of his own life. The book is like a reverse history of Kerouac's "On the Road.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Edward Abbey died in March of 1989. In the latter part of 1988, he saw his last and perhaps most accomplished work brought to bed at his publishers in New York. The author of many highly controversial works of fiction and non-fiction, best known for his seemingly solitary stand against the ecological destruction of the western American deserts, Abbey's last book effectively completed a cycle. At the same time it was a very close foretelling of his own probable doom.
Abbey was an environmentalist from the beginning. In the East of his youth, he saw strip mines close in on his father's mountain acres. Out West, he witnessed the early preparations being made to dam the Colorado and its tributaries. He rafted down Glen Canyon and saw the hidden valleys filled with a beauty that was soon after to be engulfed. He smelt out the tricky political deals being woven by senators and landowners in the forgotten tracts of the butte country and did his best to expose them. Against all of the attempts to tame this corner of the American wilderness, Abbey railed.
In books ranging from "Desert Solitaire" (1967), a journal of a season in the desert, to "The Monkey Wrench Gang" (1975), an explosive novel of saboteurs versus dambuilders, Abbey argues his points in favour of preserving the canyon country. Having been there "before" and "after," his voice has a compelling authority. To read his account of Glen Canyon before the dam is to be filled with regret at the later spoliation.
In "The Fool's Progress," Abbey gives us something of a summing up of his own life. The book is like a reverse history of Kerouac's "On the Road.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
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