Three Penny Lane – SAVE 50%!:

A Novel

Often compared to Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, the lesser-known “beat-generation” writer, Fielding Dawson brings us the third novel in his Penny Lane series, not-so-cleverly titled Three Penny Lane. One of the more popular passages from Three Penny Lane epitomizes Dawson’s style of dialogue:

“What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your own senses?” “I don’t know,” said Scrooge. “Why do you doubt your senses?” “Because,” said Scrooge, “a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There ‘s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are…”

The action of Three Penny Lane consists of two beery friends sitting in a bar while an acquaintance, a recently divorced poet, describes to them at great length his ideas for a movie script about a recently divorced painter. This actually turns out to be an effective narrative framework, adroitly handled by Mr. Dawson. The problem is that the poet’s script, filling this clever frame, is a rambling and rather tedious soap opera, in which strident, prolonged but unrevealing altercation among the principals is mistaken for drama. The two friends hugely enjoy the poet’s cinematic recitation, but they are probably drunker—and more forgiving—than the average reader.
David Quammen, The New York Times, 1981

Fielding Dawson attended the famed Black Mountain College from 1949 to 1952, before settling in New York City where he became part of the Beat scene. Dawson is admired for his stream-of-consciousness style fiction with minimal punctuation, lax grammar, and naturalistic dialogue. Dawson wrote twenty-two books of short stories and memoirs, as well as a history of the Black Mountain College movement.

“Dawson’s ear for speech is im­peccable, but more startling is the way speech… is connected to thought, and how thought itself is formed in a seamless way in the author’s prose… [his] prose is complex, driven and quick, and the reader constantly feels he is en­countering the ruminations of the mind in ways he has never experienced before.” —New York Times Book Review

“No writer moves more aptly, quickly, closely, in the tracking of human dimensions of feeling and relation.” —Robert Creeley

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