In an unerring, corrosively comic depiction of a campus in revolt, Richard Farina evokes the 1960s as surely as F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the 1920s. A landlocked, college-age hipster called Gnossos Pappadopoulis weaves his way through the psychedelic landscape, encountering - among other things - mescaline, women, demonology, hunting, truth, smuggling, falsehood, gluttony, prayer, science, fetishes, and occasional art. This is a classic novel of an explosive, expansive decade, a book that resonates as social history, sparkles with novellistic inventiveness and embodies the attitudes of an entire generation. Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me, as Thomas Pynchon writes in the introduction, "comes on like the Hallelujah Chorus done by 200 kazoo players with perfect pitch."
Cole Howland has it good. He has Suzette, his girlfriend of six years; he has his career as a jazz musician and occasional academic; and he has Lily, Suzette's piano prodigy daughter and Cole's musical lifeline. But when he returns from touring to find that Suzette is leaving him for another man, his world disintegrates.Hooked on a vicious cocktail of heartache, jealousy, and jazz, Cole's grip on his life is faltering. Kicked out of his band and with his drinking spiralling out of control, Cole is struggling to hold it together.Things can only get better when Hannah, a scholar and jazz aficionado, comes onto the scene. But Suzette's fiancé is set on Cole's destruction, and Lily is slipping through his fingers. Cole will discover those things he could never live without, and he'll have to fight for them.