Archive for the ‘American Fiction’ Category

Walter Tevis (1928-1984)

June 12, 2016

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Walter Tevis (February 28, 1928 – August 8, 1984) was an American novelist and short story writer.

He is the author of six novels and one short story collection. Three of his novels have been made into films: The Hustler, The Color of Money and The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Walter Tevis taught English literature and creative writing at Ohio University from 1965 to 1978, where he was a university professor.

He spent his last years in New York as a full-time writer.

Walter Tevis died of lung cancer in 1984.

Works:

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The Hustler 1959 (novel)

The Hustler tells the story of a young pool hustler, Edward “Fast Eddie” Felson, who challenges the legendary Minnesota Fats. After losing to Fats, Eddie meets Bert Gordon, who teaches him about winning, or more particularly about losing. Tautly written, The Hustler is a treatise on how a loser is beaten by himself, not by his opponent; and how he can learn to win, if he can look deeply enough into himself.

The Hustler was adapted into a 1961 film, starring Paul Newman as Fast Eddie. The film was a critical and commercial success. It remains widely regarded as a classic.

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The Man Who Fell to Earth 1963 (novel) 

The Man Who Fell to Earth is about an extraterrestrial that lands on Earth seeking a way to ferry his people to Earth from his home planet, which is suffering from a severe drought.

The Man Who Fell to Earth was made into a 1976 film, starring David Bowie as the extraterrestrial, Thomas Jerome Newton. It was directed by Nicolas Roeg.

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Mockingbird 1980 (novel)

Mockingbird opens with the failed suicide attempt of Spofforth, the dean of New York University, who is an android who has lived for centuries, yet yearns to die. Spofforth then brings a teacher, Paul Bentley, to New York. Bentley has taught himself to read after a Rosetta Stone–like discovery of a film with words matching those in a children’s primer. Bentley says he could teach others to read, but Spofforth instead gives him a job of decoding the written titles in ancient silent films. At a zoo, Bentley meets Mary Lou and explains the concept of reading to her. They embark on a path toward literacy. Spofforth responds by sending Bentley to prison for the crime of reading, and takes Mary Lou as an unwilling housemate. The novel then follows Bentley’s journey of discovery after his escape from prison…

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Far from Home 1981 (short stories)

Far from Home is a collection of short stories, written between 1955 and 1984 by Walter Tevis. Tevis wrote more than two dozen short stories for a variety of magazines. “The Big Hustle”, his pool hall story was published in Collier’s on August 5, 1955, and was illustrated by Denver Gillen. Over the next twenty years, Tevis published short stories in The American Magazine, Bluebook, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Galaxy Science Fiction, Playboy, Redbook and The Saturday Evening Post. These stories were collected together and published as the short story collection Far From Home in 1981.

The Big Bounce (first published in Galaxy, February, 1958) is one of the stories from the collection:

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The Steps of the Sun 1983 (novel)

 

The Steps of the Sun is set in the year 2063. China’s world dominance is growing, and America is slipping into impotence. All new sources of energy have been depleted or declared unsafe, and a new Ice Age has begun. Ben Belson searches for a new energy resource.

 

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The Queen’s Gambit 1983 (novel)

The Queen’s Gambit traces chess prodigy Beth Harmon’s life from her childhood in an orphanage through her struggles with tranquilizer and alcohol addiction to her triumphant rise through the Grandmaster ranks.

Eight-year-old orphan Beth Harmon is quiet, sullen, and by all appearances unremarkable—until she plays her first game of chess. Her senses grow sharper, her thinking clearer, and for the first time in her life she feels herself fully in control. By the age of sixteen, she’s competing for the U.S. Open championship. But as she hones her skills on the professional circuit, the stakes get higher, her isolation grows more frightening, and the thought of escape becomes all the more tempting…

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The Color of Money 1984 (novel)

The Color of Money is a sequel to Tevis’ first novel, The Hustler (1959). The novel is set twenty years after The Hustler. Fast Eddie now runs a pool hall of his own. After seeing a lookalike of Minnesota Fats on the television, he decides to go in search of the real one, whom he finds in the Florida Keys. Eddie persuades Fats to go on a national tour. He meets Arabella, an English woman, who moves in with him. The finale is set at Lake Tahoe, where Eddie manages to beat a number of younger players.

The novel was adapted into a 1986 film directed by Martin Scorsese. The film differs greatly from the novel in terms of plot, and does not feature the Minnesota Fats character.

 

Information on Walter Tevis and his works is available at:

http://www.waltertevis.com/

 

Walter Tevis’ novels and short stories are available at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=walter+tevis

 

 

Walter Tevis (1928-1984)

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

 

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Richard Brautigan

June 5, 2016

Richard Brautigan (January 30, 1935 – September 16, 1984) was an American novelist and short story writer.

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His writing is often considered to be either black comedy, parody or satire – or a combination of these.

Richard Brautigan has written ten novels. They are:

A Confederate General from Big Sur (1964, ISBN 0-224-61923-3)

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Trout Fishing in America (1967 ISBN 0-395-50076-1)

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In Watermelon Sugar (1968 ISBN 0-440-34026-8)

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The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 (1971 ISBN 0-671-20872-1)

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The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western (1974 ISBN 0-671-21809-3)

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Willard and His Bowling Trophies: A Perverse Mystery (1975 ISBN 0-671-22065-9)

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Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel (1976 ISBN 0-671-22331-3)

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Dreaming of Babylon: A Private Eye Novel 1942 (1977 ISBN 0-440-02146-4)

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The Tokyo-Montana Express (1980 ISBN 0-440-08770-8)

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So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away (1982 ISBN 0-395-70674-2)

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An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey (1994 ISBN 0-312-27710-5)

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Richard Brautigan has also written a collection of short stories, Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-1970

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Richard Brautigan’s novels and short stories are available from:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Richard-Brautigan/e/B000AQ48CA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1465120516&sr=1-2-ent

 

 

 

 

 

Thunder Island by James Howard Kunstler

May 19, 2016

 

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Andy Newmark is having the time of his life on Thunder Island, but the 1967 Summer of Love also brings with it some important lessons about growing up.

In this coming-of-age novel, set in the summer of 1967, 17-year-old Andy Newmark graduates from high school and lands a job at a run down beach club on the famous barrier island east of New York City. It’s the legendary summer of love in the USA with the Vietnam War ramping up in the background and on Thunder Island it’s all about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It is Andy’s first time living away from home with no one to answer to but the hard-drinking board members of the rattletrap club. The threat of the military draft hangs over Andy as makes his way into the adult world.

The reader is carried along by Andy’s sense of exploration as he works, makes friends, surfs, and experiments with drugs, alcohol and sex. All the while, the fear of not being accepted by a college and therefore being drafted to fight in Vietnam hovers over him. Gradually overcoming personal conflicts, his parents divorce, his fear of failure and the social ills he encounters, the war, the prejudice he experiences as a Jew, the decadence of Thunder Island, by summer’s end, Andy feels comfortable with himself and the dimensions of the adult world he is entering.

Andy and his friends are likable, even if they seem as deeply characterized as the people in the rock songs that play everywhere on Thunder Island. And, like many novels of initiation, this is a simple story of innocence and discovery. Thunder Island has charm.

Steeped in the news and social events of the time as they appeared to young adults then, Thunder Island offers a sentimental, nostalgic version of adolescence in the late 60s.

 

James Howard Kunstler says: ‘The story takes place at a Hamptons-like beach resort town in 1967.  It’s about what happens to a New York City kid the summer after he graduates from high school, with the Vietnam War looming in the background.  Surfing, drugs, young love.’

This was one of James Howard Kunstler’s early novels, published some time before he became better known as a social critic and author of the acclaimed non-fiction books The Geography of Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic.

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James Howard Kunstler is the author of many novels including World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Thunder Island, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, An Embarrassment of Riches, and many others.

He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

His non-fiction includes The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation.

 

 

Burt Hirschfeld’s Fire Island Tetralogy: Fire Island, Cindy on Fire, Fire in the Embers and Return to Fire Island

March 14, 2016

 

 

Burt Hirschfeld

Burt Hirschfeld

 

Burt Hirschfeld (22 May 1923–3 December 2004) was the author of over fifty books, several of them best-sellers. Probably his best known (and best-selling) novels are his Fire Island Tetralogy: Fire Island, Cindy on Fire, Fire in the Embers and Return to Fire Island.

 

 

Fire Island:

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Fire Island was the first of four novels set on the eponymous island. Fire Island: New York’s most beautiful beach resort… a sun-soaked playground for the bored sensation seekers.

Fire Island: where the wealthy, the sun worshippers, the hippies and the lonely housewives all flock in the summer. All come to find the freedom promised by the island.

Fire Island: where six friends share a summer house. Six people at their most vulnerable with ambitions they can’t hope to fulfil and hungers they can’t satisfy.

 

 

Cindy on Fire:

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Cindy on Fire is a sequel to Burt Hirschfeld’s Fire Island. In it, the author focuses on the life of Cindy Ashe from Fire Island. Like the first book, Cindy on Fire is a 500-plus page chronicle of the sex lives of the gone-to-seed sixties flower children, living on Fire Island. Cindy, the promiscuous teen of Fire Island, has grown up and is still very promiscuous.

Welcome to Cindy’s world – the decadent playground of society studs and jet-set perverts, of dirty old men lusting for naked young bodies and freaked-out hippies into acid rock sex scenes.

Follow Cindy’s search for fulfilment – out of her middle-class upbringing into the sordid glamour of international film making and on to a non-stop merry-go-round of exotic lovers. It’s a trip too hot to forget. And once you’ve Cindy Ashe, you’ll never forget her.

 

 Fire in the Embers:

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Fire in the Embers is a young writer’s fight for fame in a decadent society of instant success and fast failure.

Fire in the Embers tells of Mike Birns’ struggle to change the ocean-side bedrooms of Fire Island for the opulent offices of Hollywood, where eager girls are only too willing to trade their bodies to break into movies.

Fire in the Embers is about a man with too many easy women, too many long nights at the gaming tables and too much ambition to ignore the temptations.

 

Return to Fire Island:

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Fire Island – The East Coast playground for the beautiful achievers. They fight hard for success. Back on Fire Island, they enjoy the rewards.

Fire Island – A pleasure island where the sun comes up on last night’s lust. Where desire is hotter than the summer sun, and the warm nights are drenched in the fevered search for excitement.

Fire Island – Where the hot crowd comes to live out their fantasies.

In Return to Fire Island, Burt Hischfeld takes a look at the residents of Fire Island, and gives us a chronicle of the people who live and vacation where New York’s money and beauty buy every pleasure under the sun. And there’s a lot of money – and a lot of pleasures to be had.

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Burt Hirschfeld is a very powerful writer, with a talent for good dialogue, exotic settings, and excellent character insights.

 

Many of his books are available here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Burt-Hirschfeld/e/B001HP1UD8

 

and here:

http://www.amazon.com/Burt-Hirschfeld/e/B001HP1UD8

and there are reviews of a few of his books here:

http://glorioustrash.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/fire-island-glorious-70s-trash.html

 

Burt Hirschfeld’s Fire Island Tetralogy: Fire Island, Cindy on Fire, Fire in the Embers and Return to Fire Island.

 

© R J Dent (2016)

 

http://www.rjdent.com

 

 

The Green Town Trilogy (Dandelion Wine, Summer Morning, Summer Night, and Farewell Summer) by Ray Bradbury

October 12, 2014

 

Ray Bradbury’s Green Town Trilogy is comprised of three books: Dandelion Wine, Summer Morning, Summer Night, and Farewell Summer. 

Dandelion Wine

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Dandelion Wine is a 1957 novel by Ray Bradbury, taking place in the summer of 1928 in the fictional town of Green Town, Illinois, based upon Bradbury’s childhood home of Waukegan, Illinois. The novel developed from the short story ‘Dandelion Wine’ which appeared in the June 1953 issue of Gourmet magazine.

The title refers to a wine made with dandelion petals and other ingredients, commonly citrus fruit. In the story, dandelion wine, as made by the protagonist’s grandfather, serves as a metaphor for packing all of the joys of summer into a single bottle.

The main character of the story is Douglas Spaulding, a twelve-year-old boy loosely patterned after Bradbury. Most of the book is focused on the routines of small-town America, and the simple joys of yesterday.

In the winter of 1955–56, after a consultation with his Doubleday editor, Bradbury deferred publication of a novel based on Green Town, the pseudonym for his hometown. Instead, he extracted seventeen stories and, with three other Green Town tales, published the 1957 book as Dandelion Wine.

Summer Morning, Summer Night

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The most significant of the remaining unpublished stories, scenes and fragments were published as two novels. One was under the originally intended name for the novel, Summer Morning, Summer Night, in 2007.

In Summer Morning, Summer Night, Bradbury returns to this signature locale with a generous new collection of twenty-seven stories and vignettes, seventeen of which have never been published before. Together, they illuminate some of Green Town’s previously hidden corners, and reaffirm Bradbury’s position as the undisputed master of a unique fictional universe. The core of Summer Morning, Summer Night was Bradbury’s witnessing of the American small-town and life in the American heartland.

Farewell Summer

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In 2006, Bradbury published the original novel that remained after the extractions, and re-titled it Farewell Summer.

Farewell Summer is a novel by Ray Bradbury, published on October 17, 2006. It was his last novel released in his lifetime. It is a sequel to his 1957 novel Dandelion Wine, and is set during an Indian summer in October 1929. The story concerns a mock war between the young and the old in Green Town, Illinois, and the sexual awakening of Doug Spaulding as he turns fourteen.

The first chapter, also titled Farewell Summer, appeared in The Stories of Ray Bradbury in 1980. Publishers Weekly called the novel a ‘poignant, wise but slight ‘extension’ of the indefatigable Bradbury’s semi-autobiographical Dandelion Wine’ and concluded, ‘Bradbury’s mature but fresh return to his beloved early writing conveys a depth of feeling.’ Kirkus Reviews found it ‘a thin work, heavily reliant on dialogue, but one that serves as an intriguing coda to one of Bradbury’s classics.’ Booklist said, ‘A touching meditation on memories, aging, and the endless cycle of birth and death, and a fitting capstone, perhaps, to a brilliant career.’

In the afterword to Farewell Summer, Bradbury contends that the novel was actually intended to follow what became the Dandelion Wine story arc as a complete book tentatively titled Summer Morning, Summer Night. ‘When I delivered it to my publishers they said, ‘My God, this is much too long. Why don’t we publish the first 90,000 words as a novel and keep the second part for some future year when it is ready to be published.’

Dandelion Wine, Summer Morning, Summer Night and Farewell Summer form The Green Town Trilogy, three novels inspired by Ray Bradbury’s childhood in Waukegan, Illinois.

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Ray Bradbury’s books are available at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ray-Bradbury/e/B000AQ1HW4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

http://www.rjdent.com/

Bookbuster – a great bookshop in Hastings

November 5, 2013

Bookbuster is a wonderful book shop in Hastings that is open 7 days a week.

 

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The proprietor of Bookbuster is Tim Barton, a St. Leonards-based cultural entrepreneur with many years experience in the book trade.

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Tim has opened his cheekily-named bookshop, Bookbuster, in premises formerly occupied by a gone-bust Blockbuster DVD rental store.

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Tim believes in bookshops and what bookshops offer customers: “I don’t think you can beat a physical bookstore, where you are free to browse,” he says.

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Bookbuster is generating a lot of interest among book-lovers. Tim says: “The fact that there has been so much interest so far is fantastic.”

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Although the shelves offer many new titles, the shop has an extensive and eclectic range of books that seem to appeal to all ages and interests.

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With new stock arriving daily, a calendar full of author signings, readings, poetry slams and other literary events, and an ambient soundtrack playing to ensure customers linger longer, Bookbuster is proving to be a valuable business that gives a great deal to the Hastings reading community.

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There is also a significant second-hand book section that – along with a selection with some well-chosen perennial titles – offers collectors the chance to obtain copies of rare editions and signed delights from Iain Sinclair, the late Iain Banks and Tom Sharpe, amongst others.

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BookBuster is an independent bookshop in Queen’s Road, Hastings. There is a huge range of stock. Bookbuster is full of literary treasures and, because of Tim Barton’s depth of knowledge regarding authors and books of every type and genre, the shop is something of a cultural oasis. It is very good news for Hastings and for book-lovers and bibliophiles.

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BookBuster is at 39 Queen’s Road, Hastings. Opening hours: 9.30am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday; 11-5 Sundays.

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There are author readings, author signings, lectures, poetry readings and live music at BookBuster throughout the year.

 

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BookBuster

39 Queen’s Road

Hastings

TN34 1RL

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BookBuster facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/BlueGreenEarthBooks

 

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

In R J Dent’s Library – Truman Capote

October 24, 2013

 

A look in R J Dent’s library at the works of journalist, essayist, playwright, short story writer and novelist – the inventor of the non-fiction novel – Truman Capote.

 

 

 

In R J Dent’s Library – Truman Capote

 

Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)

 

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In R J Dent’s Library – F. Paul Wilson’s LaNague Federation

October 24, 2013

 

A look in R J Dent’s library at The LeNague Federation – a series of SF novels and stories with a libertarian message – written by F. Paul Wilson.

 

 

In R J Dent’s Library – F. Paul Wilson’s The LaNague Federation

 

Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)

 

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In R J Dent’s Library – Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

October 23, 2013

A look in R J Dent’s library at Ken Kesey’s classic novel of institutional rebellion  – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

 

 

In R J Dent’s Library – Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)

 

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In R J Dent’s Library – Jack Kerouac’s On The Road

October 23, 2013

A look in R J Dent’s library at Jack Kerouac’s classic beat novel of travelling across America in pursuit of freedom – On the Road.

In R J Dent’s Library – Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)

 

http://www.rjdent.com

 

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