carolime's Reviews > The Fool's Progress

The Fool's Progress by Edward Abbey
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Aug 28, 2007

Read in August, 2007

it is quite unfortunate that i read (most of) this book. i found edward abbey's name scrawled on a foldy post-it note from the move, and concluded he must be someone i was interested in reading, i jumped headlong into this novel- a stretch of murk that seems inescapable.

the book is a chronicle of the life of the protagonist, a womanizer who grew up in appalachia and fell in love with the wide spaces of the west. we begin with him in his present-day home in tucson, and follow him as he travels back (albeit in a drunken stupor) to the land of his birth, dallying for many trips down memory lane. he angers me because he's so simple. maybe this is the attraction of the tale for others? if perhaps you like to hear a lot from self-pitying characters who wax philosophic in gloating ways and abuse their women in others, then perhaps you'll enjoy this tale.

i did not enjoy this tale; and i only made it halfway through, owing to the double reasoning that i had to return it to the library and it seemed to be wasting my time and making me mad. why, why, you ask, might i subject myself to so much needless enragement? well, after this novel flopped so heavily, i looked up edward abbey on the ol' wikipedia. this is the first step for some, but i like to give everything an even chance.

anyway! wikipedia RAVESRAVESRAVES about e.a. for example, his "Desert Solitaire is regarded as one of the finest nature narratives in American literature, and has been compared to Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac and Thoreau's Walden." and that's not all! he's totally crazy- anarchist, the father of ecotage, and the times describes him as a "cult hero." egads-- have i gone astray? have i missed and dismissed some true voice- an individual whose views are strong and occasionally counterculture?!?! heaven forbid!

it seems to me that the abbey pieces that are more famous, time-worthy, and of critical acclaim are his non-fiction works. i can only imagine that in these the protagonist seems less stilted and uni-minded because there is no protagonist, only a narrator and the facts m'am the facts. so, dear readers, don't be disappointed. before any further judging, it is my aim to try an abbey non-fiction work-- apparently the monkey-wrench gang is The Way To Go in anarchic environmental non-fiction literature. so i'm going to head that way!!
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