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The Fool's Progress: An Honest Novel Paperback – August 15, 1998
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Just before he died in 1989, Ed Abbey published what he called his "honest novel," one loosely based on his own life. Early in its opening pages, Abbey's alter ego, Lightcap, takes off from his nearly empty home (its contents just removed by a disgruntled spouse) in Tucson, Arizona--but not before shooting his refrigerator, a hated symbol of civilization. Lightcap makes a winding journey by car to his boyhood home in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania, calling on old friends along the road, visiting Indian reservations and out-of-the-way bars, and reminiscing about the triumphs and follies of his life. Readers would be mistaken to view this as pure autobiography, but The Fool's Progress nonetheless is an illuminating look into Abbey's time and his way of thinking, especially on matters of ecology and other social issues. It's also a picaresque tale humorously and artfully told, a book that Abbey himself rightly regarded as one of his best works of fiction. --Gregory McNamee
From Publishers Weekly
In a wild, picaresque novel, nature-loving Henry Lightcap makes a despairing odyssey across a lovely but ruined land from Tucson, Ariz., to the Appalachian family farm g run by his brother; penniless, Henry has nowhere else to go. PW found this "as absurdly moving as anything you have read in years." (July)Penny, do you have a copy of this?robin
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I started getting into nature writers with Bill McKibben's book Wandering Home. Mr. McKibben mentioned that Ed Abbey is a nature writer and I liked both of these books for that reason. Mostly because both of these stories take place outdoors and mostly in wilderness.
In The Fool's Progress, Ed Abby takes us on a journey, by pick up truck and sleeping bag, from Tuscan, Arizona to the Appalachian foothills of Stump Creek, West Virginia (near Shawnee.)
I haven't been able to find Stump Creek or Shawnee on a map but I am convinced these places really do exist (with different names) because of the way Ed Abby describes his homeland and anchor of his soul. I love how he describes these places. It is like being there. You can almost taste the food and smell the aromas of this mountain home, thick, forested, and farmed out land that Ed Abby describes nostalgically throughout this book.
Vulgar at times, but it lends a hand at describing the human condition of his characters.
The main character Henry Lightcap, is revealed as being a laid back sort of guy who has a hard time holding his women and work, but Mr. Abby has you wondering if some of this character's life choices aren't to blame. Henry is also a likable character who loves his dog, Solstice and Mr. Abby has you accepting Henry Lightcap, faults and all by showing Henry's love of wildlife, nature, and people as he performs his daily job routines at places like the north rim of the Grand Canyon, and the welfare office in New York City.
One will appreciate the adventurous and devil-may-care spirit of Henry Lightcap.
A Fool's Progress is a story about a man going home in more ways than one. The story is also about justifying happiness and not always feeling worthy of it when you do find it. That feeling that something has got to go wrong surfaces in this book as it does in real life when one is feeling true happiness.
Mr. Abby gives a considerate combination and adequate amount of words to convey meaning.
"Solstice the dog" is never referred to as just Solstice and Ed Abby leaves enough gaps to keep the story interesting and puzzling until the end. The book rings true to life and represents man's battle with himself and nature. Some of his characters win these battles and some lose. The battle that Henry Lightcap is fighting for, primarily for a life, his health, and his soul, correlate well with his descriptions of the great wars that his characters are exposed to or fought in.
This book is provocative at times. You'll know what I'm talking about when you get to the butterfly tattoo. And, I like how he describes a scene of cattle being driven to market by making a reference to the ovens of Auschwitz, Belsen, and Dachau. Ed Abby has a way of making this book very picturesque and thought provoking.
Have a box of Kleenex handy for a couple bittersweet chapters near the end.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was my first (and likely only) Edward Abbey book, this book was...Read more