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Well of course I read this book ... many years ago. I had been waiting for someone to write about Frederick Exley's life after having fallen head over heels for Exley's fictional memoir, "A Fan's Notes", a book about love and alcoholism, fame, the literary life, and even football. When you're twenty-two and just starting to realize you want to be a writer, you can painfully identify with Exley, who made himself the protagonist of "A Fan's Notes." The book became somewhat of a cult classic over t...
I was actually late to the Fan's Notes fan club, having first met Exley in the pages of Rolling Stone. I actually like his other books more than Yardley does, though they're certainly not in the same league as FE's 1968 cult classic. Ultimately, one's appreciation for this book depends upon one's tolerance for peripatetic fuck-ups, serial adulterers, unapologetic spongers, absentee parents, unrepentent misogynists, urine-stained alcoholics, and all around unheroic, flame-out figures. Apparently,...
Yardley is a facile and accomplished writer, and 'Misfit' breezes by without a hitch. Unfortunately the conclusion that Exley was a "misfit" serves mainly to reinforce popular misconceptions of him, and to undermine the value of his work. Exley was an alcoholic, we know. And he was apparently anti-social, too (except at the bar). But so were many great American writers of the 20th century, for better or worse. Exley was, most importantly, a gifted stylist who redefined point of view and sensibil...
I have to say that Fredrick Exley’s trilogy (the semi-autobiographical novels: A Fan’s Notes, Letters From A Cold Island, Last Notes From Home) made a strong impression on me as undergraduate. So I thought Jonathan Yardley’s biography, Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley, would prove illuminating and entertaining. My reaction was mixed. It provided some interesting biographical information as well as some interesting anecdotes, but it also portrays him as a narcissist, selfish with an un...
It's a fascinating story of a strange, outrageous man with a germ of brilliance and an inability to extend its range. I read A Fan's Notes, which, of course, led me to what would appear to be an unlikely bio of a mostly undistinguished member of literature's one-shot wonders. Exley couldn't live his own life or describe anyone else's.
Good biography of Exley that goes well with fan's notes. The only flaw is that it seems to rely awful heavy on the writing and doesn't have enough detail, observations or interviews with people who knew Exley. Would have liked more insight into his extremely complex and disturbing character.
Surprisingly dull and devoid of detail or information. Yardley has a thesis: Exley was a misfit and a one-book writer, and rarely deviates.
Weird, interesting guy. I feel sorry for him, which I think he'd absolutely hate.
for everyone who ever considered living on mom's couch an alternative lifestyle.
Yardley is a solid biographer, and the subject is a favorite writer of mine, but holy Christ is the second half of this book depressing.
Only 3 great things came out of Watertown NY. My mother, John Phillips, and Exley.
The true story behind the true story?