Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

Selected for a Pharos Editions' reissue by T.C. Boyle and featuring a foreword by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Pharos Editions is proud to announce the long awaited revival of William Kotzwinkle's cult comic classic, The Fan Man. And just in time it is, too, man. If you haven’t read it you are in for a rare and wondrous treat. If you have, isn’t it about time you returned that copy you borrowed from your best pal Pete back in ‘74 and replace it with this stunning new edition, man?

I am all alone in my pad, man, my piled-up-to-the-ceiling-with-junk pad. Piled with sheet music, with piles of garbage bags bursting with rubbish and encrusted frying pans piled on the floor, embedded with unnameable flecks of putrefied wretchedness in grease. My pad, man, my own little Lower East Side Horse Badorties pad. . . . . . .And so it begins Badorties’ narration of his down-at-the-heels drug-fueled befuddlement in New York City circa 1970.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781940436272
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 10/13/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 600,194
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Author bio: William Kotzwinkle is a two-time recipient of the National Magazine Award for Fiction, a winner of the World Fantasy Award, the Prix Litteraire des Bouquinistes des Quais de Paris, the PETA Award for Children's Books, and a Book Critics Circle award nominee. His work has been translated into dozens of languages.

Contributor Bio: T.C. Boyle is the author of twenty-four books of fiction, including, most recently, San Miguel (2012), T.C. Boyle Stories II (2013) and The Harder They Come (2015). His stories have appeared in most of the major American magazines, including The New Yorker , Harper's , Esquire , The Atlantic Monthly , Playboy , The Paris Review , GQ , Antaeus , Granta and McSweeney's , He has been the recipient of a number of literary awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Prize for best novel of the year (World's End, 1988); the PEN/Malamud Prize in the short story (T.C. Boyle Stories, 1999); and the Prix Médicis Étranger for best foreign novel in France (The Tortilla Curtain, 1997). He currently lives near Santa Barbara with his wife and three children.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction by T.C. Boyle

I am holding in my hand an artifact of a time long gone, a time when we all had hair, and plenty of it, when we were members of an ever-expanding tribe and weren’t afraid to wear dashikis, top hats and rayon shirts with huge bleeding eyeballs dripping down into the waistband of our ventilated three-foot wide striped bell-bottom trousers. We had tribal rituals to sustain us, outdoor concerts, days that blended mystically one into the other, love that might have been free in the moment but wound up being very, very expensive in the long run. We had drugs and music and the astonishing literary improvisations of Robert Coover, Donald Barthelme, Jorge Luis Borges, Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Brautigan and William Kotzwinkle, the author of this very artifact, my original 1974 copy of the Avon Equinox paperback of The Fan Man, cover price $2.45. Why should this matter? Because The Fan Man is that rare literary marvel, a book that makes you laugh till you have to put it down and catch your breath, as funny in its own unique hyperbolic onrushing way as A Confederacy of Dunces and Lucky Jim, both of which, like this one, feature hapless, hopelessly degenerate protagonists—heroes!—who blunder their way across a landscape of stultified convention.
The original model here, of course, is Don Quixote, though Kotzwinkle’s protagonist, Horse Badorties, needs no Sancho Panza to counterbalance his delusions—Kotzwinkle allows the reader to fulfill that role. We are with our hero fully, though he’s not so much seeing giants in windmills but simultaneously embracing and scamming the junk-strewn society he finds himself immersed in, whether he’s rejecting the panoply of poisonous foods available to him in the eateries of the Lower East Side in favor of the healthful ground-up anus and eyeball largesse of the street vendor’s hot dog or buying a brake-challenged school bus with one of his rubber checks and filling it with some truly serious junk, like an air-raid siren and mine sweeper. Even better, he acquires an enormous hot-dog-emblazoned umbrella from a complicit street vendor and becomes the Knight of the Hot Dog, replete with his banner and colors. And where’s the windmill? No windmill, but a fan, the enormous basement fan in the Museum of Natural History he yearns to acquire for his Love Concert.
Horse Badorties is, fortunately, not what we would today call politically correct. A “blonde chick” is merrily raped with no more consequence or inner turmoil than having to endure a VD shot, and Puerto Ricans—their culture, their music, the slippery slope of their open-vowel accents—come in for satirical drubbing throughout. But then The Fan Man was composed in a time before the Nunnery of the Verboten and the Monastery of the P.C. came along to shame us and dictate what we can legitimately think and say, and where’s the holy bleeding satire in that? Satire is designed to provoke and offend and The Fan Man succeeds swimmingly here, but it also succeeds in making risible fun of its protagonist while at the same time putting us squarely on his side, Sancho Panzas all. If Horse Badorties is a caricature of the quintessential hippie stoner dropout, he also has a purpose and a redemptive vision—the Love Chorus Concert, humming with fans and aglow with the conjoined voices of all his otherworldly fifteen-year-old chicks. That he doesn’t triumph (unlike Lucky Jim) is, of course, in character—in his reminiscent haze in Van Cortlandt Park he mistakes the day—and makes the ending all the more ironic and poignant too, the holy fool wholly fooled. But then, the concert did go on and the TV crew showed up, the saxophone player stood in admirably at the podium, and the music, which was the whole point, soared into the night.
How does all this work, ultimately? What makes this a comic classic? Voice. The hilarious internal monologue that drives the protagonist through his days, a voice not unlike the one that rings deep and individually through all our brains, the private voice here made public: “Horse Badorties waking up again, man. Man, what planet am I on? I seem to be contained in some weird primeval hideous grease. Wait a second, man, that is my Horse Badorties pillow-case. I am alive and well in my own Horse Badorties abominable life.”
How can you resist that? Get awake. Be awake. And prepare yourself for a major laughing jag, man.

Customer Reviews

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The Fan Man 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first thought of The Fan Man was what drug induced craziness is this? It also happened to be my last thought when I finished Fan Man. It is chaotic and garbled. To say that I didn't like it is not quite accurate. I get closer to the truth when I admit I didn't understand it. Nancy Pearl described this as a book about the Age of Aquarius and maybe that's the problem - despite being born under the sign of Aquarius, I don't get the Age.The Fan Man is also Horse Badorties. He is a slob, obsessed with 15 year old "chicks" he can introduce into his "love choir", fans (the Japanese hand-held folding kind) and phones. At one part of the book he spends an entire night in a phone booth making random phone calls. At first I thought the obsession with 15 year olds was a metaphor for something else, something spiritual - especially in the context of a love choir. All in all, I think it's safe to say I didn't get this book.
SimoneSimone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nothing like it in comic literature. Inspired, man. Weird, man. Wild, man.
RodV on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I haven't laughed this gleefully at a book since I read Gravity's Rainbow (yes, I'm one of those people). Horse Badorties is one of the most singularly unique and memorable characters in literature, reminiscent of later free-spirited slackers like The Dude and Kramer, but with his own particular brand of lunacy. If he were a real person, Hoarders could devote an entire season to him, and his overriding obsession is finding 15-year-old girls to comprise his "Love Chorus," and bringing medieval church music (set to the pitch of Japanese handheld, battery-powered electric fans, no less) to the masses via a nationally televised concert, but his ADD tendencies and perpetually stoned headspace get in the way (although surprisingly not that much). So, in other words, it's a pretty weird book, but funny, very funny. And I'll never look at the word "dorky" the same way again.
copyedit52 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like this book, which I've read more than once, because of the (pot) head of the faux first person narrator, Horse Badorties, and because it accurately coveys the loosey-goosey East Village I recall well, back in the day. I've recommended it a few times, and will recommend it again. It would deserve five stars if not for the regrettable rape scene, which I like to believe the young Kotzwinkle would have redone as an older, wiser head. Not everything is funny, after all.
Hagelstein on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorites. I feel compelled to pull this off the shelf and read it every few years. It's fresh and laugh-inducing every time.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The first and, so far as I know, still the best portrayal of a pothead in the sixties, when this state of mind was the norm for the 'boomer' generation. And, as befits the subject, it's hilarious too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of William Kotzinkle's Great books. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and most of all it made me think. Think about life, think about happiness, and most of all think about what is acceptable in culture today, and what should be done about those bums. My third Kozwinkle book and my favorate.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first William Kotzwinkle book I have read, but after reading it I am prepared to read more. If you are a fan of Ken Kesey's one flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, read this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best reads I have had this year. Recommended by a friend and read front to cover in one sitting, I was completely facinated and enchanted. Another wonderful piece of work by Kotzwinkle.