William Gaddis A Frolic of His Own

ISBN 13: 9780684800523

A Frolic of His Own

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9780684800523: A Frolic of His Own
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A dazzling fourth novel by the author of The Recognitions, Carpenter's Gothic, and JR uses his considerable powers of observation and satirical sensibilities to take on the American legal system.

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Perhaps William Gaddis' most accessible novel--though a dense and imposing book--A Frolic of His Own is a masterful work that mocks the folly of a litigious society. The story centers around Oscar Crease, the grandson of a Confederate soldier who avoided a deadly battle by invoking a legal clause that allowed him to hire a substitute and who later became a Supreme Court judge. Oscar writes a play about his grandfather that goes unproduced yet appears as the story behind a big-budget Hollywood film. Oscar sues and is tossed into the vortex of litigation. Meanwhile, almost 20 other lawsuits of varying frivolity swirl about, adding to this satirical and philosophical treat, which won the National Book Award for 1994.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Greed and its destruction of independent authenticity is Gaddis's best subject, and with it here he has essentially rewritten his masterpiece, JR (1975)--not so much with business as the focus (as in that earlier book) but with lawyers. A ne'er-do-well college instructor, Oscar Crease, has written a long, sludgy philosophical Civil War play that he once sent off desperately to a TV producer; years later, a Hollywood blockbuster movie seems to duplicate (though only in Crease's mind) some of the stuff in the play. Crease sues--plagiarism--and is promptly sucked down into wholesale legal disaster: depositions, bills, opinions, more bills, appeals, more bills, bills and bills. His half-sister Christina and her establishment law-firm partner husband try to steer him through--but everyone gets drowned in the tidal wave of litigiousness. Meanwhile, Crease's own elderly father, a federal judge, is, as a sidebar, a stereoscopic whack at the legal system, simultaneously ruling on a case involving a dog killed while stuck in a piece of public sculpture (the book's most mordantly funny set-piece). Here, like JR, the novel is one of voices that are remarkably faithful to the real patterns of speech--interrupted, trivial, saying most when no one else seems to be listening. Paragraphs of speeded-up narrative link the voices, which are also interspersed now and then with depositions and judicial opinions. Gaddis's paranoid comedy of skepticism (some of it fairly cheap: a director named Jonathan Livingston Siegel, a car company called Sosumi Motors) pushes relentlessly forward... ...but if you've read a quarter of the book, you've read the whole thing: clever and brilliant though it is, it feels like a massive imposition on your time. Gaddis seems to want to prove the novel capable of film's open mike and panning shots, music's structure, and opera's recitatives (everyone only screeches and beseeches)--but once he has, all that finally seems left is a rather tinny note of pissed-off energy and formal subordination. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 1995. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. 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. Seller Inventory # AAV9780684800523

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 1995. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.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. Seller Inventory # AAV9780684800523

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