A Fan's Notes
|Published||1968 (Harper & Row)|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Followed by||Pages From A Cold Island|
A Fan's Notes is a novel by Frederick Exley, first published in 1968. Subtitled "A Fictional Memoir" and categorized as fiction, the book is somewhat autobiographical. In a brief "Note to the reader" in the opening pages Exley asserts
|“||Though the events in this book bear similarity to those of that long malaise, my life...I have drawn freely from the imagination and adhered only loosely to the pattern of my past life. To this extent, and for this reason, I ask to be judged a writer of fantasy.||”|
This may give one a sense of Exley's sense of humor, but for all intents and purposes, the book is a confession. Since its publication the book has been reprinted several times (most recently in 1997 as a Modern Library edition), been heralded as a modern classic, and achieved a considerable cult following.
A Fan's Notes is a sardonic account of mental illness, alcoholism, insulin shock therapy and electroconvulsive therapy, and the black hole of sports fandom. Its central preoccupation with a failure to measure up to the American dream has earned the novel comparisons to Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Beginning with his childhood in Watertown, New York, growing up under a sports-obsessed father and following his college years at the USC, where he first came to know his hero Frank Gifford, Exley recounts years of intermittent stints at psychiatric institutions, his failed marriage to a woman named Patience, successive unfulfilling jobs teaching English literature to high school students, and working for a Manhattan public relations firm under contract to a weapons company, and, by way of Gifford, his obsession with the New York Giants.
Exley's introspective "fictional memoir", a tragicomic indictment of 1950s American culture, examines in lucid prose themes of celebrity, masculinity, self-absorption, and addiction, morbidly charting his failures in life against the electrifying successes of his football hero and former classmate. The title comes from Exley's fear that he is doomed to be a spectator in life as well as in sports.
Awards and honors
- Exley, Frederick. "A Fan's Notes". 1968, New York. (ISBN 0679720766)