A brilliant novel that teeters between somewhat kilter and completely off-kilter at times. We begin with our narrator, one Frederick Exley, going to a bar on a Sunday to drink while watching football. Both parts of that event seems equally important. He is completely enamored by both aspects. He’s escaping a bit from his weekly teaching gig, one that he secured by promising the principal he would never create too much of a problem with his drinking, as his reputation preceded him. He goes into detail about his obsession with football, especially with Frank Gifford, who acts as a kind of avatar of Exley’s desires for himself, and as a stand-in father figure (even though Exley and Gifford are the same age) and becomes a totem. The book then has adventures. They both come off as true enough, and impossibly untrue at times. There’s a lot of drinking; there’s a lot of talking; and there’s especially a lot of reading. This is a book positioned in the 1950s through the 1960s and Exley’s narrator is trying to figure out who he is as a writer and who he wants to be. He’s also watching the world around him slowly lose its mind, and he’s not sure if he wants to do that or not himself. Sometimes the novel gets very very bogged down, and then sometimes it has Exley yelling full-blast at people who miss the point of some important novels. I won’t get into detail, but I was very satisfied with one example of this in particular.