A Frolic of His Own

A Frolic of His Own Hailed as the American heir to James Joyce Gaddis has secured his position among the foremost contemporary writers with novels such as Carpenter s Gothic and the National Book Award winning JR Now he

  • Title: A Frolic of His Own
  • Author: William Gaddis
  • ISBN: 9780671669843
  • Page: 256
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Hailed as the American heir to James Joyce, Gaddis has secured his position among the foremost contemporary writers with novels such as Carpenter s Gothic and the National Book Award winning JR Now he adds even luster to his reputation with a mercilessly funny, devastatingly accurate tale of lives caught up in the toils of the law.

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    One thought on “A Frolic of His Own”

    1. Towards the end of the novel, Christina (one of the clearest ripostes to the contention that Gaddis’ oeuvre lacks strong, admirable female characters), states in one short line a summation of the core of every one of Gaddis' books. They are:“about failing at something worth doing because there was nothing worse for a man than failing at something that wasn’t worth doing in the first place simply because that’s where the money was, it was always the money…”Wyatt in The Recognitions, E [...]

    2. J. Franzen says about A Frolic of His Own that “its only aesthetic weakness, really, is that much of it is repetitive, incoherent, and insanely boring.” Repetitive? No but listen there are about 600 pages here of unstylised dialogue where the protagonists use the same phrases ad nauseam and run-on sentences like we do in life what else did you say, Franzen? Incoherent? No but listen there is a plot here, a satirical plot about lawsuits and an avaricious professor and listen did you remember [...]

    3. Justice? --You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law.One of the greatest opening lines in the history of the novel. Why does Gaddis choose such an easy target for his wit and satire, the law and its attendant system of legalism and legalese? To save the language. The language of the law is opaque to most of us not versed in it. But as with any technical and conventional language it is precise, addresses directly and clearly the phenomena, difficulties, concepts, REALITY w [...]

    4. So you know how Gravity's Rainbow is basically about boners, right? Sure, a lot of other things happen, if they didn't, the book wouldn't be nearly as (in)famous, but let's not be too pretentious here, it's mainly about boners. Few pages go by without a reference to penises or vaginas, either symbolic, or literal, and often both at once. In the same way that GR is about erections, A Frolic of His Own is about lawsuits.There is a review which summarises GR in one sentence. All it says is:THIS BOO [...]

    5. Oh god this is amazing. I'm exhilarated and unabashedly proud I could finish something by Gaddis. The legalese alone is excellent, hilariously absurd - probably the best lampooning of the whole profession in years. I particularly enjoyed the 'dog in the statue' opinion. Of course, this leaves several hundred pages of book left. This, too, has its own sultry charms. The prose is thick and thorny with references, and almost wholly dialogue, with an occasional descriptive sentence tossed in to help [...]

    6. Pynchon isn't the only preeminent postmodernist subjected to a (largely un-postmodern) "major work"/"minor work" dichotomy. If you believe the word on the street about Gaddis, the big ones are the Recognitions and JR, and the lesser ones are Carpenter's Gothic and this one, with this one getting a little more "major-Gaddis" cred because of its quasi-iconic first sentence. And if you look at my ratings, you might think that I'm on board that train as well; I do, after all, have this book rated a [...]

    7. Justice and the Law, huh? With "A Frolic of His Own" William Gaddis has blown the lid off this coop and the chickens come home to roost under the starry firmament that's a glittering, blithering endless nebulae much like the idea of judicial finality in a court of law. Or like Hamlet says 'words, words, words' the legal kaleidoscope of point counterpoint I'll thrash you, you, me, file a motion make yer head spin like a hooty barn owl on mouse crack. Oscar Crease, our pawn our foil says it's all [...]

    8. Outstanding, hilarious, and almost overwhelming at times. A Frolic of His Own trainsWilliam Gaddis' satirical eye on America's litigious culture. It presents a world in which everyone is suing someone for some perceived wrong and demands of justice are really just weakly disguised grabs for cash. The legal system is supposed to offer order and reliability to this chaotic existence, but the disarray in which all these characters live makes clear the chasm between the theory and the practice. Trap [...]

    9. To me, this is Gaddis' most accessible work. It's lively, funny, and not nearly as obscure or as bewildering as his other novels. As a law teacher, I love the opening line: "Justice?--You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law." Too true!

    10. Oh my God this book is hard to read. Gaddis not only knows a lot of words, he's happy to leave out the quotation marks to indicate someone is speaking. (Incidentally, every book I've ever read that left out quotation marks was brilliant. They have to be, because they're practically unreadable.) Anyhow, it's brilliant. There's a legal opinion that is dry, dry, dry and hilarious, and there's deep sadness and crushing emotion, and it made me read (eventually) every other book Gaddis wrote They're a [...]

    11. I read Frolic after JR and The Recognitions of which I was more impressed than Frolic. It's amusing to watch Gaddis skewer the legal profession -- I can think of few professions more worthy of it -- but while he addresses the national feeding frenzy of greed associated with litigation his characters fail to capture much empathy as they were more hideous in many cases than their legal representatives. Consequently, I found myself detached from main characters and unsymapthetic to their sordid fat [...]

    12. Sloughed through 372 pages of this and just can't find motivation to read the last 130 or so pages. Not only is the avant garde, or Gaddis's personal idiosyncratic stream of consciousness and to heck with conventional conversation and punctuation, extremely off-putting and difficult, the "frolic" takes place in mid-1980s, which (and I was there) were boring, banal, and otherwise a pain to live through, he puts us through it again. Only thing missing is the bad music.I'm complaining also about th [...]

    13. Publicado en lecturaylocura/su-pasatiemSu pasatiempo favorito de William Gaddis. Culmen postmodernistaEl lector habitual de Gaddis acaba una obra suya y se siente envuelto en un aura de reverencia. La sensación de haber caminado por un inmenso desierto, lleno de trampas, penurias, hambre, etc. pero también sabe que se ha encontrado con oasis donde lo placentero remedia el viaje por la tierra baldía, son respiros donde se distingue con mayor intensidad la potencia de la prosa del escritor. Tra [...]

    14. I’ll begin this entry of praise with a claim that WG, more than any author I know of, most closely reproduces the profaneness and disconnectedness of modern life, American in particular, from the perspective of the better-off, artists, would-be entrepreneurs, clergy and attorneys, each with their own measure of pretense who are engaged in a constant struggle against some looming darkness. Constantly working on some crumbling edifice of ambition and speaking confusedly and without pause, it’s [...]

    15. A Frolic of His Own is more difficult than The Recognitions, less difficult than JR and way less difficult than Carpenter’s Gothic, which I found impenetrable. Punctuation is only the tip of the iceberg that the reader has to plow through to reach appreciation of this comic masterpiece. Numerous subplots, an epic cast of characters, Latin and legalese, whiplash shifting of POV (perhaps it’s the shifting of no point of view), the integration/interruption of the main narrative with background [...]

    16. I have no idea how to rate this novel, which flummoxes more than it charms. I appreciated Gaddis' maneuvers and techniques but did not feel moved by them, sort of like when eating a meal prepared with great artistry that doesn't actually taste good. Some highlights: the novel opens with several pages of streaming dialogue in which no character is introduced or explained, so all must be deduced from context. This is followed by a lengthy court ruling, which in turn is followed by a play. Gaddis i [...]

    17. A Frolic of His Own marks William Gaddis returning to top form, after the disappointing Carpenter's Gothic (which would be very fine if written by someone else); it's more in keeping with the expansiveness of The Recognitions and J R.Formally inventive, funny, and angry, here it seems that Gaddis has gone down even deeper into a bitter well. Between these covers resides a play, multiple lawsuits, legal judgements, transcripts of court testimony, a pastiche of "Hiawatha" used to describe life in [...]

    18. One of the best. A sometimes tongue in cheek, sometimes blatantly funny, and always deadly serious look at our litigious society. Love, family, racism, greed and WASPs! Perfect. I've discovered Gaddis via David Foster Wallace. Style and substance always an understatement. Thanks again, DFW. Did I mention philosophy and religion?

    19. A masterfully written novel where everything from the language to the props to the background is crafted to create a sense of chaos in a world striving for order. Tenserve-wracking.trating Gaddis employed all his skills to create a satire on American culture that makes you both love yet deeply despise the characters you are reading about.

    20. This novel is easier to come to terms with than Gaddis's more famous debut The Recognitions.Overarching theme: a colourful parade of everything that prevents the American legal system (mainly tort law) from providing actual justice, including but not necessarily limited to: punitive damages, lawyers' fees and the economic barrier to entry, protracted and complex proceedings, excessive weight awarded to precedents from an irrelevant distant past, activist judges, literalism, and my personal all-t [...]

    21. More of an endurance test than a novel, I thought A Frolic of His Own was both the most human and the most exhausting of Gaddis' books. To begin with, it focuses on a topic near and dear to my heart: the absurdity of the American legal system. The book is satirical, obviously, but the opinions and scenarios contained within are, from my experiences, frighteningly realistic. Gaddis, who clearly immersed himself in the law for some time in preparing this book, completely nails the greed, venality, [...]

    22. Angelesen abgebrochen!Angeblich ist dies das zugänglichste Werk von Gaddis. Nicht hinreichend zugänglich für mich. Ich denke, dass ich ein hinreichend dickes Fell habe, was Autoren angeht, deren Stil eher eine Geduldsprobe des Lesers darstellt. Ich habe "Die Ästhetik des Widerstandes" genossen, obgleich im Fließtext nur alle 30 Seiten ein Absatz kommt. Ich habe die Zumutung "Infinite Jest" immerhin zu Ende gelesen. Letzte Instanz besteht indes aus mehr als 700 Seiten (in kleinem Font) Dialo [...]

    23. williamgaddis/frolic/iFound this after reading the novel, helped shed some light on not only the more arcane references, but some of the puns (seemingly obvious, in retrospect) but hey I guess I was concentrating on everything else- a lot on the heaping plate here!

    24. The most striking trait of A Frolic of His Own is its style. It's a novel told almost entirely in dialogue, and a frantic, careening dialogue at that. At first glance it’s a voice that seems very realistic, very much in tune to the way people actually talk. And Gaddis does have a very keen ear for American dialect, but when the speed of the banter never dips below a boil, you realize his voice is more metaphoric than anything else. Its frenetic pace does more do describe the feeling of America [...]

    25. Gaddis somehow finds a way to explain in heavy detail the stories that can come out of the Leviathan of control that is late capitalism. He constructs what seems like 40 lawsuits on top of each other with a huge range of characters and people and events without stopping for a second to slow down but only speed up. He manages to use mostly dialogue, documents, and quick and complicated narration that throws you into such a constructed world only Gaddis can create. One of my favorite quotes descri [...]

    26. This was the third book of Gaddis' trio of magnificent books that I've read (I've not read his other two shorter novels yet - but will soon). While I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as JR, and it wasn't as deep as The Recognitions, it was still far and away one of the best novels, in my opinion, written in the past twenty-five years. In The Recognitions he takes on forgery, in JR, capitalism, and in A Frolic of His Own, the legal system. Like all of his great novels, this book is a complete [...]

    27. A Frolic of His Own was somewhat disappointing to me not because it was bad, but because it was less than what I expected rightly or wrongly after experiencing the Gaddis of The Recognitions. It was a witty if repetitive satire about the chaotic nature of litigation in America today and the greediness and foolishness of those relying on it for justice, financial gain or simply revenge. Light though relevant subject matter that while fun was less than inspirational. But Frolic also focused on a R [...]

    28. 2.75. that possible? I just can't rate it a 3 but 2.5 seems too unfair. comes close to a 3 so making it 2.75Want to add that I did like the book but didn't enjoy it as I think I would have if it was a movie. From the very start I pictured Woody Allen as Oscar for some reason. I looked it up and no it hasn't been made into a movie but think it should.I have to admit that I did skip some parts, for example, all the legal talk. I wanted to skip the play but I did read it, however, when it was menti [...]

    29. In 'A Frolic of His Own,' Gaddis churns out a slow-burning satire of individuals litigated to the hilt. It's funny, but it's difficult. For some, Gaddis's heavy dialogue, packed with the casual ellipses and broken clauses of common spoken language, may become just as overwhelming, suffocating, as the legal briefs he includes in the book. I encourage those to press on and join me at marveling at his command, his flow and rhythm in imitating anxious conversation. Unfortunately, that not be the onl [...]

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