A Frolic of his Own is William Gaddis' fourth book, published in 1994. This book earned the author his second National Book Award.

Oscar Crease manages to get run over by his own car. As his insurance company refuses to pay for his treatment, Oscar sues himself in an attempt to make them pay for his responsibility in the accident. Meanwhile, Oscar also sues a Hollywood studio and the director of a movie for plagiarizing an unpublished play of his about his grandfather.

This dull scenario is the starting point of a surprisingly good book about how Oscar's circle of relationship deals with the justice system. This is a satirical work at heart, but it avoids being a mere enumeration of absurd situations lived by unbelievable characters. And there's Gaddis' trademark dialogue style. Even though there's very little text besides the unmarked dialogue it's impossible to lose track of who is talking, as characters are full of personality in the way they communicate. Side and half-heard conversations interrupt the natural flow of the main thread all the time, and they are entirely sufficient as a very economic way of describing the environment without disrupting the overall rhythm. Legal documents and fragments of Oscar's play are less annoying than they appear.

Gaddis' work is far less popular than it deserves to be, possibly because there is a stigma associated to his works and other writers of his generation. A Frolic of his Own is a straightforward story, it ends in the only way it possibly could, and for every bit of "experimentalism" there's more than enough compensation in pure narrative power. If it has a flaw, it's being a great book about a boring subject. Not that anyone will notice this after a few pages.

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