FARTHING'S FORTUNES by Richard B. Wright


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This has no point of contact with Wright's palpably appealing first two novels--The Weekend Man (1971) and In the Middle of a Life (1973). It's a here-today-gone-who-knows-where-tomorrow picaresque novel or a seven-foot tall tale about a man who lived 95 years, the last twenty shunted away in Sunset Manor where he was most disliked. Bill Farthing was born in 1880 in Toronto and left home not too long after his brother blew his head off and his bibulous father took the pledge. Round about Chicago he fell in love with a singer, Sally Butters, the most beautiful girl in the world who keeps appearing and disappearing in all the far places he lands. He also meets up with the indeterminate Findlater who's ""got the world in a jug and the stopper in his hand"" and goes to Alaska with him, as a stevedore, to find Sally ten minutes married to a gambler. Bill also marries a woman with little use for the conjugal act, abandons her and his children, goes to England where he survives the trenches of WW I but not a passing cricket bah which leaves him amnesiac for sixteen years. He finally goes home to raise pigs and have one twilight glimpse of Sally. You feel kind of churlish saying anything mean about Wright's knockabout skedaddle but you sure got to have a cultivated taste for it.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1976
Publisher: Atheneum