Advanced Search Module


Close Search

Fridays at Enrico’s



Original Language: English (USA) | 352 pp. | April, 2014


2 Seas Represents: Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish Rights.

Rights Sold: The Netherlands (Meulenhoff), France (Cambourakis), Germany (Klett-Cotta), Italy (Frassinelli), Spain (Sexto Piso).

Do we need another work about the struggles of writers? Sure, we do — if it has the warmth and the charm and the sexy vibe of Carpenter’s novel. Take Jaime Froward, a 19-year-old native of San Francisco. In 1959, she’s studying at the state university, where she meets Charlie Monel, 10 years her senior. Charlie is a Korean War vet and former POW working on a big war novel. At Jaime’s urging, they jump into bed. After she gets pregnant, bighearted Charlie insists they marry. Perfect timing, since Jaime’s father has just died in his mistress’s bed, and her mother, drunk and disoriented, is selling their home. Meanwhile, up in Portland, Ore., young Dick Dubonet is the toast of the town. He has sold a story to Playboy and scores again when he hooks up with Linda McNeill, a voluptuous free spirit who has hung out with the Beats. Charlie, along with Jaime and their baby daughter, moves to Portland to teach at a community college (his novel is proving intractable). One of his students is Stan Winger, a jewel thief. Stan writes really good drugstore pulps and will soon start selling them. As for Jaime, she throws herself into a novel based on her family. It devastates Charlie; his wife is the far better writer. However, as Carpenter makes clear, Stan and Jaime are equals in the republic of letters, though working in very different genres. Doing time at San Quentin, Stan shows heroic discipline, memorizing whole chapters of his new project. Both Stan and Charlie gravitate to Hollywood, which Carpenter treats with surprising generosity as he takes his story up to 1975, when the future still beckons invitingly. This publication is an important event: Welcome back, Don Carpenter!  — Kirkus

Don Carpenter was one of the finest novelists in the West. His first novel, A Hard Rain Falling, published in 1966, has been championed by Richard Price, and George Pelecanos called it “a masterpiece . . .. the definitive juvenile-delinquency novel and a damning indictment of our criminal justice system.” His novel A Couple of Comedians is thought by some the best novel about Hollywood ever written.

Carpenter was a close friend of many San Francisco writers, but his closest friendship was with Richard Brautigan, and when Brautigan killed himself, Carpenter tried for some time to write a biography of his remarkable, deeply troubled friend. He finally abandoned that in favor of writing a novel.Fridays at Enrico’s is the story of four writers living in Northern California and Portland during the early, heady days of the Beat scene, a time of youth and opportunity. This story mixes the excitement of beginning with the melancholy of ambition, often thwarted and never satisfied. These are people, men and women, tender with expectation, at risk and in love. Carpenter also carefully draws a portrait of San Francisco and Portland in the ’50s and early ’60s, when writers and bohemians were busy creating the groundwork for what came to be the counterculture.

Praise for Don Carpenter:

I don’t suppose I’ll ever get over my friend Don Carpenter’s tragic death, but it helps more than a little that as his legacy he left us his best book: Fridays at Enrico’s. — Curt Gentry, author of J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets, Helter Skelter

Fridays At Enrico’s may be the truest depiction of literary life I’ve ever encountered. Truer than Lost Illusions, truer than New Grub Street; Carpenter depicts the lives of his bohemians up and down the west coast with a kind of calm radiance, and with an equipoise between hope and despair. The result is a kind of stoic classic, like John Williams’ Stoner. I can’t recommend it highly enough. — Matthew Specktor, author of American Dream Machine, and The Sting.

Like Chuck Kinder’s Honeymooners, Fridays at Enrico’s lovingly follows the literary fortunes of a ragtag band of West Coast hopefuls from their clumsy first drafts and drunken love affairs through bestsellerdom, writer’s block and the Hollywood script mills. Don Carpenter knows how heartbreakingly funny the artist’s peculiar unhappiness can be. —Stewart O’Nan, author of Last Night at the Lobster, and Emily, Alone

The writer’s life is a favorite subject for many authors, but Fridays at Enrico’s is Don Carpenter from front to back—spare but unsparing, plain-spoken but filigreed with moments of bright poetry, and focused on ordinary people climbing out of the holes they’re in only to dig deeper ones for themselves. Edited by Jonathan Lethem with a light and sympathetic touch, Carpenter’s final novel is an unexpected treat. — Christopher Sorrentino, author of Trance, Believeniks!, and American Tempura


Enrico's dutch

The Netherlands (Meulenhoff)