20060816

Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me

Richard Fariña - Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me

Betyg: 4

Richard Fariña had one of those lives that seems like it would make for a better book than anything he could invent; folk singer, poet, author, schoolfriend of Thomas Pynchon, friend of Bob Dylan, brother-in-law of Joan Baez, and if you believe his own word, gun-runner and guerilla fighter as well. He fell off a motorcycle and died two days after his only novel "Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me" was released. Of course, all of that WAS covered in a book, David Hajdu's excellent "Positively 4th Street". But Fariña's own book is well worth reading; sort of like a cross between a more sedentary "On The Road" and a 1950s "The Rules Of Attraction" with a bit of "The House At Pooh Corner" thrown into the mix. Chronicles one chaotic late-50s semester at the obligatory New England college where the main character really just wants to get high and get laid, yet gets drawn into a paranoid plot regarding social changes, Cuban revolution, racism and... well, yer basic 1960s counter-culture thingy. Since Fariña died in 1966 he never got to see what the end of the 1960s turned into, but judging from this he wouldn't have been in the least bit surprised. Stylish, hip (perhaps a bit TOO hip; all the "dig that cat, man" bits become a bit boring after a while) and thematic; impressive. Pity he didn't get to do any more of these.

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