The Fool's Progress

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The Fool's Progress: An Honest Novel
First edition
Author Edward Abbey
Country United States
Language English
Genre Anarchist
Publisher Henry Holt & Co.
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 485 pp
ISBN 0-8050-0921-3

The Fool's Progress is a novel written by American author Edward Abbey (1927–1989), published in 1988.

The book is a semi-autobiographical novel about a man, Henry Holyoak Lightcap, who refuses to submit to modern commercial society. Unlike Abbey's most famous fiction work, The Monkey Wrench Gang, which concerns the use of sabotage to protest environmentally damaging activities in the American Southwest, The Fool's Progress focuses on the journey of Henry across America.[1] Edward Abbey considered it to be his "fat masterpiece."[2] It was the final book published in his lifetime; his final novel was Hayduke Lives.


After Henry Lightcap's third wife storms out of the house and his life, boozing, misanthropic anarchist Lightcap shoots his refrigerator and decides to drive across the country journeying to his childhood home in West Virginia.


In a review for The New York Times, Howard Coale said it was "a particularly self-involved novel" and while praising the sentimental moments of the book, he notes "Unfortunately they are drowned out to almost a murmur by the harpings of a slightly malevolent and self-indulgent voice."[1] Genaro Gonzalez, writing for the Los Angeles Times, gave it "an eager recommendation"[3] Publishers Weekly gave it a positive review calling it "an epic exploration of Abbey's passionate loves and hatreds."[4]


  1. ^ a b Coale, Howard (December 18, 1988). "Beer, Guns and Nietzsche". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  2. ^ Calahan, James M. (2003). Edward Abbey: A Life. University of Arizona Press. p. 247. ISBN 9780816522675.
  3. ^ Gonzalez, Genaro (November 20, 1988). "Hellbent and Homeward Bound : THE FOOL'S PROGRESS by Edward Abbey". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  4. ^ "The Fool's Progress: An Honest Novel". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved May 11, 2015.