A Frolic of His Own

A Frolic of His Own

Book - 1994
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Baker & Taylor
A satirically jaundiced view of modern law and justice chronicles the fortunes of Oscar Crease, a middle-aged college instructor and playwright, as he sues a Hollywood producer for pirating a play

Blackwell North Amer
With the publication of the Recognitions in 1955, William Gaddis was hailed as the American heir to James Joyce. His two subsequent novels, J R (winner of the National Book Award) and Carpenter's Gothic, have secured his position among America's foremost contemporary writers. Now A Frolic of His Own, his long-anticipated fourth novel, adds more luster to his reputation, as he takes on life in our litigious times.
"Justice? - You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law." So begins this mercilessly funny, devastatingly accurate tale of lives caught up in the toils of the law. Oscar Crease, middle-aged college instructor, savant, and playwright, is suing a Hollywood producer for pirating his play Once at Antietam, based on his grandfather's experiences in the Civil War, and turning it into a gory blockbuster called The Blood in the Red White and Blue.
Oscar's suit, and a host of others - which involve a dog trapped in an outdoor sculpture, wrongful death during a river baptism, a church versus a soft drink company, and even Oscar himself after he is run over by his own car - engulf all who surround him, from his freewheeling girlfriend to his well-to-do stepsister and her ill-fated husband (a partner in the white-shoe firm of Swyne & Dour), to his draconian, nonagenarian father, Federal Judge Thomas Crease, who has just wielded the long arm of the law to expel God (and Satan) from his courtroom. And down the tortuous path of depositions and decrees, suits and countersuits, the most lofty ideas of our culture - questions about the value of art, literature, and originality - will be wrung dry in the meticulous, often surreal logic and language of the law, leaving no party unscathed.
Gaddis has created a whirlwind of a novel, which brilliantly reproduces the Tower of Babel in which we conduct our lives. In A Frolic of His Own we hear voices as they speak at and around one another: lawyers, family members, judges, rogues, hucksters, and desperate men (and women) looking for a buck. Above all these is Oscar's voice - the outraged cry of the new anachronism, the self-proclaimed "last civilized man" rendered frail before the behemoth of the law, the servant and warrior of the soul of our century: money.

Baker
& Taylor

A satirically jaundiced view of modern law and justice chronicles the fortunes of Oscar Crease, a middle-aged college instructor and playwright, as he sues a Hollywood producer for pirating a play. 35,000 first printing. $30,000 ad/promo.

Publisher: New York : Poseidon Press, [1994]
Copyright Date: ©1994
ISBN: 9780671669843
0671669842
Branch Call Number: FICTION GADDI
Characteristics: 586 pages ; 25 cm

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GrumpyDave
Dec 11, 2010

1994 National Book Award - Fiction

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