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Whatever Happened to Gloomy Gus of the Chicago Bears, by Robert Coover

rEprint Series Ebooks

Whatever Happened to Gloomy Gus of the Chicago Bears, by Robert Coover

Coover - Whatever Happened to ... - Cover.jpg
Coover - Whatever Happened to ... - Cover.jpg

Whatever Happened to Gloomy Gus of the Chicago Bears, by Robert Coover

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Interweaves the fate of a cast of passionate--and lunatic--idealists of the Depression Era Left, and the rise and fall of a poet, womanizer, actor, union sympathizer and All-American football star known as Gloomy Gus.


From Publishers Weekly

A notorious, former U.S. president is never mentioned by name, but certain similarities between him and the bizarre Gloomy Gus are too conspicuous to be overlooked. Both attended Whittier College in California; both were actors and debators; both played football, one as a sweatily ambitious but dismal failure, the other ultimately as a great halfback for the Bears. Gus is obsessive-compulsive to the point of madnessa "freak" and special kind of idiot. Coover integrates his portrait into this slender mythicizing novel of America in the Depressionof WPA arts-projects, the early days of the CIO, the historic Chicago Republic Steel strike and the police massacre of idealistic young men joining the doomed Lincoln Battalion to fight against Spanish Fascism. The evocation of time and place is strikingly accurate if gaudily eccentric, and the narrator, Meyer, a sculptor in welded metal, is a representative figure, as are other characters glimpsed in passing. The novel is a mosaic of brief glimpses, fragmentary scenesan extended, zany description of Gus learning the trade of football by rote, by memorizing the moves. But Gus lacks the essential, esthetic understanding of the great American gamethe subtle principle of "balance," the very deficiency that would bring down that other Whittier alumnus 40 years later. 
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This novella is a revised version of the story of the same title originally published in the American Review (1975). Set against the background of the Depression and the political atmosphere of the Thirties, it recounts Gus's meteoric football career, his off-the-field sexual exploits, and his absurd death at a demonstration during the Republic Steel strike. As in other works, Coover is concerned with the problem of history and with our ability to order and control events. Gus, who lives purely in the moment, is ill equipped to survive in a world where Fascist and Marxist activists battle to shape history to their own ideological ends. Entertaining as well as thought-provoking, this hilarious book is essential for all fiction collections. Highly recommended. William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Robert Coover has published fourteen novels, three books of short fiction, and a collection of plays since The Origin of the Brunists received the William Faulkner Foundation First Novel Award in 1966. His short fiction has appeared in the NewYorker,Harper's, and Playboy, amongst many other publications.