In conversation with Peter Orner
Fat City is a vivid novel of allegiance and defeat of the potent promise of the good life and the desperation and drink that waylay those whom it eludes. Stockton, California is the setting along with the Lido Gym, the Hotel Coma, Main Street lunchrooms and dingy bars. When two men meet in the ring, the retired boxer Billy Tully and the newcomer Ernie Munger, their brief bout sets into motion their hidden fates, initiating young Munger into the company of men and luring Tully back into training. In a dispassionate and composed voice, Leonard Gardner narrates their swings of fortune, and the stubborn optimism of their manager, Ruben Luna, as he watches the most promising boys one by one succumb to some undefined weakness.
Leonard Gardner was born in Stockton, California. His writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Esquire, Southwest Review, and other magazines. His screen adaptation of Fat City was made into a film by John Huston. A Guggenheim Fellow, he lives in Northern California.