Richard Farina – 1966 Uncorrected Galley Proof ‘Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me’

A very rare spiral bound advance long galley proof of Richard Farina’s novel Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me.  Labeled on the front cover ADVANCE PROOFS/Uncorrected, this has the publication date of April 1966 and list price $5.95 handwritten on the cover.

This is a Narrow Quarto format, with a title label at the lower edge, and in otherwise in Fine condition, with the occasional crease or nick to a page.

From Wikipedia: Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me is a novel by Richard Farina…first published in 1966 and is largely based on Fariña’s college experiences and travels. Set variously in an upstate New York college town, in Cuba during the Cuban Revolution, and in the Western United States, it is a comic picaresque story of the protagonist, Gnossos Pappadopoulis, a modern Odysseus who navigates the challenges of early adulthood via an array of hijinks, psychedelic experiences, and relationships with various women. The book has become something of a cult classic among those who study 1960s or counterculture literature, and has been cited as a source of inspiration for many artists ranging from Hunter S. Thompson to Earl Sweatshirt to The Doors’ album L.A.Woman

On April 30, 1966, two days after the publication of his book, Fariña attended a book-signing ceremony at a Carmel Valley Village bookstore, the Thunderbird. Later that day, while at a party, he saw a guest with a motorcycle and went for a ride up Carmel Valley Road east toward Cachagua on the back of the motorcycle. At an S-turn—coincidentally, just above the place on the Carmel River where John Steinbeck set the frog hunt that the Cannery Row denizens perform in the novel Cannery Row- the driver lost control. The motorcycle flopped on one side on the right side of the road, came back to the other side and tore through a barbed wire fence into a field where there is now a small vineyard. The driver survived, but Fariña was killed instantly.

Thomas Pynchon, who was acquainted with Fariña while they attended Cornell University together, later dedicated his book Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) to him and described Fariña’s novel as “coming on like the Hallelujah Chorus done by 200 kazoo players with perfect pitch… hilarious, chilling, sexy, profound, maniacal, beautiful and outrageous all at the same time,” in an introduction to the paperback version of Been Down….


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