Books: Woe Is Me

PAGES FROM A COLD ISLAND

by FREDERICK EXLEY 274 pages. Random House. $7.95.

If ever a successful novel seemed to be its own happy ending, it was Frederick Exley's A Fan's Notes (1968). In a captivating blend of fiction and autobiography, with remarkable humor and pitiless self-scrutiny, Exley, a high school football player turned writer and pressagent, told how his youthful fantasies of athletic and literary glory ripened into alcoholism, two ruined marriages, three stints in state mental institutions. For winters on end, he remembered, all that kept him lurching from Sunday to Sunday...

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