Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Books: Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me, by Richard Fariña

Sigh. Here was another disappointment from another overrated beat cult novel. Better than On the Road, but as far as I'm concerned that doesn't say much. Fariña does well in naming his characters (Gnossos Pappadopoulis is his protagonist, Heffalump one of his good friends who dies in a Cuban shootout), and does well in making lists (one of my favorite literary techniques) of the random things that Gnossos carries in his rucksack, but ultimately, the writing is only occasionally inventive, characters (Gnosses excepted) lack charm, and the plot doesn't arc. Thomas Pynchon's introduction is worth the read, more than the novel itself.

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