Jul 26, 07
Hippies, cool cats, professors
Read in July, 2007
This story, first published in 1964, has some good bits. Like when Hector Bloom--the super tall college basketball star--and the Dean of Men's wife, Olive, run off for a fling in Hector's car. After stopping at an out-of-the-way drive-in built to look like an igloo they are chased for like two hours by a gang of muscle-car enthusiasts.
Crazy fast stunt driving follows for the above-mentioned two hours. Eventually Hector loses the pack of marauding cars one by one until it comes down to the last auto, a giant black Cadillac. After an intense battle of hot fast metal ramming hot fast metal the mammoth Caddy is forced by sheer determination on Hector's part off a mountain road and over a cliff. The Detroit-made gas hog clings to the verge climactically, then tumbles "cleaving the water with a silver splash."
When Olive and Hector are panting with fear and excitement, parked in Hector's damaged machine alongside a nameless road, they have no choice but to cap the experience with a snog that spirals into unstoppable life-induced sex.
Then, somewhere in the middle region of the book, we get a lot of strange hippie poetry song stuff that, at no cost to your understanding of the story, you can skim or skip as you see fit. By way of example, here is one such poem (although probably the best one):
God is dead.
Drive, he said.
There is another tight scene, closer to the end, with Gabriel--the high-strung near-to-be revolutionary friend of Hector's. He is staying with some other friends in their New York city apartment above a crowded Fifth Avenue. A ticker-tape parade is winding its way toward Gabriel's position in the open window. The hero of the parade is the newly-famous Col. Neil Armstrong who had, of course, recently walked on the powdery soil of the moon.
The space between the buildings and the street is filled with drifts of confetti and shredded newspaper. Gabriel is in a tragic state of frustrated confusion. As Col. Armstrong, riding in the back of a convertible, nears, Gabriel sheds all control. Dashing about the room Gabriel can't find any scrap paper to fling at the blond head of the hero. So he improvises.... I am going to stop here so as not to spoil the big event.
Side Note: The publication date of the paperback reads 1964, but the moon landing did not happen until 1969. Strange?