Fat City

Fat City

by Leonard Gardner
     
 

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"The book reveals a vision of a whole stratum of American life which up to now has been more often sentimentalized, exploited, patronized and feared by even those writers who come from it and know it best. . . . The pathetic and yet not ignoble hopes of the boxers, the dead weight of pointless labor, the fragile wisps of feeling fluttering mothlike around people… See more details below

Overview


"The book reveals a vision of a whole stratum of American life which up to now has been more often sentimentalized, exploited, patronized and feared by even those writers who come from it and know it best. . . . The pathetic and yet not ignoble hopes of the boxers, the dead weight of pointless labor, the fragile wisps of feeling fluttering mothlike around people too timid to love and too lonely not to try."—Frank Conroy

"He has got it exactly right—the hanging around gas stations, the field dust, the relentless oppressiveness of the weather, the bleak liaisons sealed on levees and Greyhound buses. . . .Fat City affected me more than any new fiction I've read in a long while."—Joan Didion

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
LJ's reviewer found this "sordid saga of cheap hotels, cheap women, cheap dreams, and little or no fulfillment" to be "expertly written" (LJ 9/1/69). The plot finds palooka Billy Tully teaming up with a young would-be fighter who is destined to follow in Tully's footsteps.
From the Publisher
"Really a superior performance...Gardner takes us into the bitter fancies of two professional prizefighters...the first is a has-been, the second is learning to lose. A third character, their manager, links the pair in defeat and frustration...Gardner strips them of everything except the most important thing: their singularity...of such a seemingly small gift is dignity born and success measured." —Newsweek

"Fat City affected me more than any new fiction I have read in a long while, and I do not think it affected me only because I come from Fat City, or somewhere near it...He has got it exactly right...but he has done more than just get it down, he has made it a metaphor for the joyless in heart." —Joan Didion

"Gardner has laid claim to a locale that others have explored, but seldom with such accuracy and control...in a tone that is both detached and lyrical. The triumph of the book is its action. Running, fighting, loving, weeding, harvesting, these men stay in motion in order not to be doomed. So powerfully does Gardner record their actions that we recall their lives, not their defeats." —The New York Times Book Review

"Gardner's book should be taken slowly. The chapters are constructed with great care, worked, polished and fitted like a precision parts in a beautiful engine. There is a comic chapter on the physical attributes of boxers which could easily be overlooked, three pages as delicate and funny as the calmer Twain. Chapter Four, a short section ending a magnificent description of a boxer doing roadwork, withstands the closest scrutiny." —Frank Conroy, Life

"The stories of Ernie Munger, a young fighter with frail but nevertheless burning hopes, and Billy Tully, an older pug with bad luck in and out of the ring, parallel one another through the book. Though the two men hardly meet, the tale blends the perspective on them until they seem to chart a single life of missteps and baffled love, Ernie its youth and Tully its future. I wanted to write a book like that." —Denis Johnson, Salon

"By almost any criterion imaginable, Leonard Gardner's Fat City is one of the two or three very best boxing novels ever written. That it rates among the Top Ten is pretty much beyond dispute." —George Kimball, The Sweet Science

"Leonard Gardner wrote Fat City as a moody elegy to the wayward dreamers who fight in tank-town arenas, then retreat to flophouses and shotgun weddings, day labor and rotgut drinking binges." —John Schulian, L.A. Times

"In his pity and art Gardner moves beyond race, beyond guilt and punishment, as Twain and Melville did, into a tragic forgiveness. I have seldom read a novel as beautiful and individual as this one.”—Ross Macdonald

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520206571
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
10/06/1996
Series:
California Fiction Series
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
183
Sales rank:
936,665
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.50(d)

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