Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard FarinaBeen Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina

Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me

byRichard FarinaIntroduction byThomas Pynchon

Paperback | May 1, 1996

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A witty, psychedelic, and telling novel of the 1960s

Richard Fariña evokes the Sixties as precisely, wittily, and poignantly as F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the Jazz Age. The hero, Gnossus Pappadopoulis, weaves his way through the psychedelic landscape, encountering-among other things-mescaline, women, art, gluttony, falsehood, science, prayer, and, occasionally, truth.

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Richard Fariña was killed in a motorcycle accident in Carmel, California, on April 30, 1966-two days after the publication of Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me. A posthumous collection of his writings, Long Time Coming and a Long Time Gone, was published in 1969. Thomas Pynchon was born in Glen Cove, New York, in 1937. He is t...
Title:Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To MeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 7.8 × 5.1 × 0.6 inPublished:May 1, 1996Publisher:Penguin Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140189300

ISBN - 13:9780140189308

Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from lost classic of campus counterculture Richard Fariña hasn't received half the attention lavished on other writers seen as representative of 1960s American counterculture such as Ken Kesey and Thomas Pynchon. Perhaps it's because _Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me_ was Fariña's only novel, published two days before his tragic early death in 1966. Or perhaps it's because the novel, with its unsettling sexist and nihilistic undertones, hasn't aged as gracefully as, say, Thomas Pynchon's _The Crying of Lot 49_. Both novels capitalize on the argot of the age, when cats and chics dug scenes ranging from heavy to oobop-shebam groovy, and like _Lot 49_, _Been Down So Long_ boasts a cast of charmingly named characters from the constantly opiated protagonist, Gnossos Pappadopoulis, to his enigmatic mentor and nemesis, Dr. G. Alonso Oeuf. The unfortunately named Judy Lumpers is more bimbo caricature than character, and one of the milder examples of the novel's latent misogyny. In light of how gender inequalities are often currently compared to racial ones, I find it somewhat ironic (and somewhat relieving) that Fariña's novel, so fraught with sexual stereotypes, offers a scathing indictment of American Jim Crow racism. The scenes that deliver such social criticism are movingly rendered. On the other hand, the scene-by-scene whole story doesn't make much sense until the second reading (for me, this was another similarity with Pynchon's book). Nevertheless, Fariña combines his farcical nomenclature with a gift for snappy dialogue and an artless narrative voice that moves easily between events and Gnossos's interior monologue to produce a compulsively readable book. In tackling everything from dealing heroin to campus revolt to the Cuban revolution, _Been Down So Long_'s tragicomic vision of '60s America is in many ways more generous and profound than those of Fariña's better-known contemporaries.
Date published: 2002-07-29

From Our Editors

When Gnossos Pappadopoulis returns to his old university town, he becomes involved in its psychedelic landscape and a quest for love and the meaning of life. Richard Farina’s classic novel of the 1960s era, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me, is a hilarious and haunting depiction of a campus in revolt. As Gnossos searches for some sort of ultimate truth, he encounters an array of drugs, women, art, science, prayer and falsehood. Conveying the essence of a generation, Farina’s compellingly comic and inventive writing is fit to join the company of Beat legends Kerouac, Kesey and Pynchon.