Thomas Pynchon, Farina's friend, best man at his wedding to Mimi, and pallbearer at his funeral, said of Been Down So Long... that it "comes on like the Hallelujah Chorus done by 200 kazoo players with perfect pitch." An incredibly apt description if you can picture (or hear) it! The book, like the author, packs a tremendous amount of life into its 352 pages and centers on the hip and ultra-cool, Gnossos Pappadopoulis as he sets out to right the world's wrongs, have a drink or five, and hopefully score with a few co-eds. Sounds flippant, but underscoring this sublime ‘coming of age tale' is Farina's serious discourse on race, politics, and religion. And, the glue that holds all this hyperactive hyperbole together is Farina's marvelous use of language, an acerbic wit, and his continuous questioning of authority.
Farina was killed in a motorcycle accident shortly after leaving a local California bookstore where he had, as far as I can tell, his only book signing. Supposedly he inscribed the books that day with the eerily prescient word, "Zoom!" I've never seen an inscribed copy offered for sale which makes the book -- not unlike Richard Farina himself -- the rarest of rare.
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