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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Back in Print: Leonard Gardner's FAT CITY

Thank you NYRB Classics, for continuing to drop forgotten tough stuff  like Don Carpenter's Hard Rain Falling and now Garner's under-read bummer Fat City back on the shelves (John Huston's 1972 film adaptation starring Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, and Susan Tyrrell is perhaps better known).  Relentlessly bleak and minimal in style, FC tells the separate but intersecting stories of two boxers on opposite ends of their career (Munger's a teen just starting out and Tully's a beaten-down romantic failure at just 29) which takes place in the gym and the bars of poignantly described 1950s Stockton, California.



Denis Johnson claims it as one of his main influences while Joan Didion says "[Gardner] has got it exactly right [...] but he has done more than just get it down he has made it a metaphor for the joyless in heart."

I hate calling it before the bell guys, but I think summer's going down and fall's taking the belt. Get yourself prepared for cool, early nights and lean into this 1969 downer classic.

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