Tattoo by Earl Thompson
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1974. First edition; first printing. Hardcover. 568 pages ; 21 cm. $8.95 dust jacket. Minor black stain to the dust jacket backside. Corners bumped at the top right of the rear cover board. Otherwise, a very good copy with firm binding, clean and unmarked pages.
From the Dust Jacket :
TATTOO BY EARL THOMPSON
With the publication of A Garden of Sand in 1970, Earl Thompson burst unheralded upon the American literary scene. Reviewers immediately compared him to such various writers as Nelson Algren, Carson McCullers, Theodore Dreiser, Tennessee Williams and John Steinbeck, and the novel itself was nominated for the National Book Award for fiction.
TATTOO is his first novel since then. His hero is once again Jack Andersen, born out of wedlock to a woman who is a sometimes waitress, sometime prostitute, and reared by grandparents living on relief. The time is now 1945, and Jack, large for his age and worldly far beyond his fourteen years, dreams of enlisting in the armed forces and experiencing the glories of war. By the book's end, Jack has served in Korea, where he has had "his war," and is still pursuing his version of the American dream.
Like the life it describes, TATTOO is raw and violent, often painful and shocking. Its characters are, for the most part, people from the other half of America: young boys to whom the military represents a chance to improve their station in life; men with nothing to look forward to but their next sexual encounter; divorced and lonely women waiting in neon-lit bars for romance that never comes. Yet it is Earl Thompson's special talent to understand these people, to turn their struggles into an affirmation of hope and to convey.the humor that so often accompanies outrage.
EARL THOMPSON was born in -Kansas, served in the armed forces, has held a wide variety of manual jobs, has been a news reporter and editor and has exhibited paintings in the Brooklyn Artists Show. He attended both the University of Missouri and Columbia and for the past several years has been living in Europe. Of himself he says, "1 am of the people of whom I write and will never truly be of any other. For, as Sophia Loren once put it so aptly in an interview, 'If you have ever been poor—truly poor—no amount of money will ever make you feel rich.' Consequently my persisting values are those of that class which is trapped between poverty that is a personal moral failure and the lure of material reward for citizenship they can never achieve. A class that is so early frightened by violence anything short of death is a personal victory. And all have been wounded."
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