The Fool's Progress: An Honest Novel

The Fool's Progress: An Honest Novel

4.7 8
by Edward Abbey
     
 

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When his third wife abandons him in Tucson, boozing, misanthropic anarchist Henry Holyoak Lightcap shoots his refrigerator and sets off in a battered pick-up truck for his ancestral home in West Virginia. Accompanied only by his dying dog and his memories, the irascible warhorse (a stand-in for the "real" Abbey) begins a bizarre cross-country odyssey--determined to

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Overview

When his third wife abandons him in Tucson, boozing, misanthropic anarchist Henry Holyoak Lightcap shoots his refrigerator and sets off in a battered pick-up truck for his ancestral home in West Virginia. Accompanied only by his dying dog and his memories, the irascible warhorse (a stand-in for the "real" Abbey) begins a bizarre cross-country odyssey--determined to make peace with his past--and to wage one last war against the ravages of "progress."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a wild, picaresque novel, nature-loving Henry Lightcap makes a despairing odyssey across a lovely but ruined land from Tucson, Ariz., to the Appalachian family farm run by his brother; penniless, Henry has nowhere else to go.
Library Journal
Long a rabid defender of the wilderness, a man who has taken an almost anarchic view of the concept of individual freedom, Abbey offers his first fiction in 12 years. The story of a man's journey home (both literally and figuratively), this work is a bitterly humorous commentary on the foibles of modern society and its impact on nature. Government officials, tourists, developers, hippies, Mexicans, Indians -- all feel his wrath. For all its surface crudity and earthiness, this novel is full of passion and pathos; Henry Lightcap's lifelong struggle to maintain his individuality and more immediate struggle to complete his journey from Tucson to Stump Creek, West Virginia, assume almost heroic proportions. A powerful, often hauntingly beautiful novel. -- .David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466806290
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/15/1998
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
190,127
File size:
730 KB

Meet the Author

The author of Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang is unchallenged among radicals of all ages. Edward Abbey, an American icon, called "the original fly in the ointment" by Tom McGuane, today has roads and a town named after him.


Edward Abbey (1927-1989) was born in Home, Pennsylvania. He received graduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of New Mexico, and attended the University of Edinburgh. He worked for a time as a forest ranger and was a committed naturalist and a fierce environmentalist; such was his anger, eloquence, and action on the subject that he has become a heroic, almost mythic figure to a whole host of environmental groups and literally millions of readers. Abbey's career as a writer spanned four decades and encompassed a variety of genres, from essays to novels. One of his early successes was the novel The Brave Cowboy, which was made into the movie Lonely Are the Brave. His 1968 collection of essays, Desert Solitaire, became a necessary text for the new environmentalists, like the group 'Earth First,' and his rambunctious 1975 novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, a picaresque tale of environmental guerillas, which launched a national cult movement and sold over half-a-million copies. Other titles include The Journey Home, Fool's Progress, and the posthumously released Hayduke Lives!

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The Fool's Progress 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I've never read a more descriptive story. It was really like I was along for the ride. His description of the forest trees, animals, sounds, the desert landscape etc. were so captivating and intriguing. I could'nt put the book down. Edward Abbey is so thorough in his filling in of all pertinent information as he weaves the story, theme and facts that truly put you next to him (and his dog) in the front seat of that broken down truck. I'd like to re-read it but there are many more Abbey books in my near future. Bravo!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful, rollicking romp, lyrically written, with all the pathos and earthy humor one could ask for. This book is about America, the land, as much as the adventures of it's protagonist. It's heartfelt, sad and funny, a great book to immerse you in the feeling of what it's like to be in love, filled with wanderlust, and searching for your roots. A great book,
Guest More than 1 year ago
Henry Lightcap is an average hillbilly redneck living in Tucson, Arizona who has just lost his third wife. This was the last straw for Henry, so he loads up his Dodge pick-up, puts his dying dog into the cab and leaves, heading east, for home. As he travels cross-country, he thinks of earlier times, when things started to go wrong and things that went right. On his way home, he says goodbye to old friends who are some very interesting characters. This is a very funny and interesting book, which we could all benefit from.

This book, like many of Abbey's books, talks a lot about nature and society (or better nature versus society). This world we live in has become a very complicated and stressful place, but we can all be happier by simplifying our lives. In 'The Fool's Progress,' Henry Lightcap leaves his complicated city life behind to rejoin his brother in the simplicity of living on the family farm. This theme is very evident throughout this book. In many of Henry's flashbacks, he seems much happier when his life is much simpler. One of Henry's flashbacks deals with a time when he was working as a park ranger, living alone in a small horse trailer. During this time, he is happy and content with himself. At the end of his six-month stint as a ranger, he gets a letter from his (first) wife asking him to live with her in New York City. He then goes to New York and is miserable. We can all learn a great deal from this book and its theme. To truly be happy we must learn to simplify.

Guest More than 1 year ago
At least that is how he makes me feel. His honesty toward everything in life is now reflected back on him in this sad but realistic tale. Although a novel, Abbey fans will recognize the hero Henry as more than a fictional character. It is a celebration of life set in melodramatic form as a man reflects upon lifes victories and mistakes. I loved this book because I will end up the same way as poor Henry. Consider the source though, Edward Abbey is my hero!!