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Memoris and Biographies
Author: Jonathan Yardley
ISBN: 0679439498
Subcategory: Arts & Literature
Pages 255 pages
Publisher Random House; 1st edition (August 5, 1997)
Language English
Category: Memoris and Biographies
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 802
ePUB size: 1120 kb
FB2 size: 1848 kb
DJVU size: 1379 kb
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eBook Misfit:: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley download

by Jonathan Yardley


Frederick Exley was at once unique and prototypical. So I thought Jonathan Yardley’s biography, Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley, would prove illuminating and entertaining

Frederick Exley was at once unique and prototypical  . So I thought Jonathan Yardley’s biography, Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley, would prove illuminating and entertaining. My reaction was mixed. It provided some interesting biographical information as well as some interesting anecdotes, but it also portrays him as a narcissist, selfish with an un I have to say that Fredrick Exley’s trilogy (the l novels: A Fan’s Notes, Letters From A Cold Island, Last Notes From Home) made a strong impression on me as undergraduate.

Frederick Exley, author of the unforgettable novel A Fan's Notes, lived a sad, often pathetic life, and Washington Post book critic Yardley details its awful grimness. Exley was a man-child, a full-time alcoholic never able to sustain relationships or even hold a workaday job-and yet, he wrote one great book and two not very good ones. He had one subject-himself-and when he'd finished with it, he simply drank harder.

Frederick Exley was at once unique and prototypical . He inhabited his own bizarre universe and obeyed no rules except his own, yet he was a familiar and characteristic American literary type: an author whose reputation rests on a single book. His life, which he described, and disguised, and distorted in all three of his books, rivaled his "fiction. In Misfit, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic of The Washington Post portrays in full one of the most tormented, distinctive, and talented writers of the postwar years.

A biography of Exley, Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley, by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Yardley, appeared in 1997. Yardley's central thesis is that Exley was a brilliant one-book writer

A biography of Exley, Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley, by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Yardley, appeared in 1997. Yardley's central thesis is that Exley was a brilliant one-book writer In 2010, author Brock Clarke released a novel entitled Exley. In the novel, the main character, Miller, is obsessed with Exley.

Frederick Exley was at once unique and prototypical

Frederick Exley was at once unique and prototypical.

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Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley. New York: Random House, 1997.

His sons, Jim Yardley and William Yardley, with his first wife Rosemary Roberts, are New York Times reporters, and William writes for the Los Angeles Times as well. He and his son Jim are one of two father-son recipients of the Pulitzer Prize. Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley.

Frederick Exley's novel/memoir A Fan's Notes was one of the seminal books of the '60s, as trenchant . By telling Exley’s story in Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley, book critic Jonathan Yardley hopes to excavate great truths about what it means to be a writer in America

Frederick Exley's novel/memoir A Fan's Notes was one of the seminal books of the '60s, as trenchant and funny o. By telling Exley’s story in Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley, book critic Jonathan Yardley hopes to excavate great truths about what it means to be a writer in America. Alas, all that’s really uncovered is what it’s like to be a grandiose, drunken freeloader and boor. In and out of psychiatric hospitals, Exley was a case study in the dark, self-destructive side of ’60s romanticism. Yardley is an economical stylist who can’t write a bad sentence. In Misfit, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic of The. In Misfit, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic of The Washington Post portrays in full one of the most tormented, distinctive, and talented writers of the post-war years. 11596/?tag prabook0b-20. Our Kind Of People The Story Of An American Family Uncorrected Page Proofs.

book without the help of Jonathan Yardley’s invaluable biography of Exley, Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley.

I wouldn’t have written this book if I hadn’t first read and loved Frederick Exley’s great fictional memoir A Fan’s Notes and been convinced that everyone else should read and love it, too; and I couldn’t have written this book without the help of Jonathan Yardley’s invaluable biography of Exley, Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley - so that there should be no question about the original source.

Frederick Exley was at once unique and prototypical. He inhabited his own bizarre universe and obeyed no rules except his own, yet he was a familiar and characteristic American literary type: an author whose reputation rests on a single book. His life, which he described, and disguised, and distorted in all three of his books, rivaled his "fiction.  Everything he did involved a struggle, and the most important struggle of his life was his writing; out of that strife came A Fan's Notes, which Jonathan Yardley believes is one of the best books of our time.Exley was an alcoholic who drank in copious amounts, yet he always sobered up when he was ready to write. In his younger days he did time in a couple of mental institutions, which imposed involuntary discipline on him and helped him start to write. He was personally and financially irresponsible--he had no credit cards, no permanent address, and ambiguous relationships with everyone he knew--yet people loved him and took care of him.The center of Fred's strange world was Watertown in upstate New York, where he was born and grew up. Other important points of his compass included various places in Florida and Hawaii, and a funky bar in New York's Greenwich Village called the Lion's Head. No matter where he was, in the dark of night he phoned friends and subjected them to interminable monologues. To many, these were a nuisance and an imposition, but later, in the light of day, they were remembered with affection and gratitude.In Misfit, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic of The Washington Post portrays in full one of the most tormented, distinctive, and talented writers of the postwar years. Exley's story, which in Yardley's telling reads as if it were a novel, reveals a singular personality: raunchy, vulgar, self-centered, and even infantile, yet also loyal, self-deprecating, and unfailingly humorous. Sympathetic and affectionate, honest and unsparing, Yardley's portrait gives us a man who sacrificed everything in order to write and who becomes, even more than before, his own most memorable creation.  
Mori
Most of this book is Yardley's reflections on Exley: his work and what his life meant. It is not much in the way of hard biography. I get the feeling that Yardley, though he admired and was fascinated by Exley, was not up to the task of a serious biography.

In the preface Yardley demurs that this is not possible because Exley left so few traces of himself behind.

Ha! An unconvincing excuse. There be other authors who have left a lot less, and that didn't stop hordes of biographers.

I think Yardley found it easier to surmise than actually do the legwork. However, 5 stars because the book is so exquisitely written.

Do yourself a favor and skip p. 29.
Malahelm
Fascinating character, great book!
Geny
On time and as advertised.
Whitegrove
Mr. Yardley admits at the outset that he was, in a telephonic way, a friend of Exley's. This gives you the immediate expectation that you are going to get a kid-gloves treatment of the late author. That expectation is borne out completely by this brief book.
In _The Culture of Narcissism_ Christopher Lasch used _A Fan's Notes_ as Exhibit A in the development of a narcissistic culture in late 20th century America. Lasch defined a narcissist as someone who has no real self, but instead cobbles one together based on the continually and desperately solicited approval of others. This project of manufacturing a self is all-consuming and leaves the narcissist with little energy to direct toward paying attention to the existence of other people. In _A Fan's Notes_ Fred Exley attempts to construct a self that is "not-Frank Gifford"; he is a nobody. That he was able to get this down on paper in a coherent form was the achievement of his lifetime and he deserved all the recognition he got, but of course the recognition merely fed his narcissism.
Yardley mentions Exley's famous monologues (given in person and over the phone) many times and says only that they consisted of disjointed stories of people that Exley knew and interacted with. He hints, but never states, that these narratives were more real to him than his own life. Yardley also mentions the negative review by Alfred Kazin of _Pages from A Cold Island_, the second Exley book; Kazin nailed Exley for living his life solely for the purpose of having something to write about. That is, Kazin outed Exley as a narcissist. Yardley completely misses this dimension of the Exley character and therefore his "analysis" of the man goes nowhere.
If you were unfamiliar with the basic details of Frederick Exley's life, then this book will supply them for you. The interpretive aspect of this book is too kind to an old friend and allows Exley to remain an enigma when, in fact, he is has been explained better elsewhere by Christopher Lasch.
Gozragore
This is an interesting biography of Frederick Exley, the author of the novel A FAN'S NOTES. Talk about a mess. Exley apparently lived most of his adult life in bars, when he wasn't running around trying to borrow money from friends or family members. But despite his difficulties, Exley wrote one terrific novel and the real value of this biography is its numerous discussions of the value of one book writers. Not everyone has a series in them or even several good books, but writers like Exley, who have that one good book in them make a tremendous contribution to our literature. Sure, Exley was self-absorbed and could only write about his own life, but he did that with excellence. Yardley's biography presents a sad story, but nevertheless adds an important chapter to America's literary history.
Cargahibe
This, despite claims to the contrary, is a conventional chronological biography. There's little that's illuminating or even interesting in this book. Exley's life is described as a child, as a successful novelist, and as an inevitably deteriorating drunk. Maybe Exley was simply not a good subject for a biography. He seems to have been nothing more than an irresponsible mooch. The attempts to explain Exley's behavior are very weak. Why does Exley wind up in an insane asylum on two occasions? Does one go to insane asylums because they are inherently lazy and irresponsible or is there something about them that explains why they are so troubled. The few stabs at explaining Exley are meaningless shots in the dark. For the most part this book just chronicles, without any explanation, a life that I'd guess was more complex than it's made out to be in the biography. According to MISFIT Exley was one of the most unattractive reprehensible persons ever to appear on the planet. Maybe that's the truth.
Malanim
A FAN'S NOTES has long been a favorite book of mine, one that I pressed on a number of close friends when I first read it over thirty years ago, so I was quite excited to find MISFIT, Yardley's bio of Fred Exley, in a thrift store in Nazareth, PA, a few weeks ago. Sadly, reading this admittedly subjective look at Exley's screwed-up life was not exactly an uplifting experience. I guess I never realized exactly just how autobigraphical A FAN'S NOTES was. Finding out what a charming drunk and inveterate sponger off family and friends Exley was didn't really enhance my opinion of him. What an ultimately SAD life this guy lived, as a MISFIT in so many senses of the term. Given the paucity of actual materials he had to work with, due to Exley's nomadic and disorganized life, I think Yardley did an admirable piece of work in offering a peek at a tormented 20th century writer's life - a writer who may well have suffered from bipolar disorder and/or schizophrenia his whole life. Thanks for your efforts, Mr. Yardley. A FAN'S NOTES will still remain on my list of all-time favorites. - Tim Bazzett, author of Soldier Boy: At Play in the ASA