Recommended by Stacey and Paul
In this unapologetically unclassifiable work Lawrence Ferlinghetti lets loose an exhilarating rush of language to craft what might be termed a closing statement about his highly significant and productive 99 years on this planet. The "Little Boy" of the title is Ferlinghetti himself as a child, shuffled from his overburdened mother to his French aunt to foster childhood with a rich Bronxville family. Service in World War Two (including the D-Day landing), graduate work, and a scholar gypsy's vagabond life in Paris followed. These biographical reminiscences are interweaved with Allen Ginsberg-esque high energy bursts of raw emotion, rumination, reflection, reminiscence and prognostication on what we may face as a species on Planet Earth in the future. Little Boy is a magical font of literary lore with allusions galore, a final repository of hard-earned and durable wisdom, a compositional high wire act without a net (or all that much punctuation) and just a gas and an inspiration to read.
"Little Boy may start off sounding like a conventional memoir, but before long, Ferlinghetti reclaims his beat soul, quickens the pace, dropping punctuation like a used-up booster rocket, and off we go on the last wild, motor-mouth, book-length riff of this poet's generation. All finger-popping readers will be gleefully swept up in this hip word-flood, this spontaneous stream—no, make that torrent of consciousness. Bravo, maestro!"—Billy Collins
“Wonderfully effusive [and] stunningly evocative… This book is a Proustian celebration of both memory and moments that will delight readers.”—Publishers Weekly
“Ferlinghetti has given us a uniquely revelatory book. At first his narrative was what I’d hoped it would be, and then his words turned, like lively flashing fish, into what he wanted it to be, so he could leisurely reel me in, ever so surely, to his sublime conclusion. Little Boy evoked my surprise and delight — thank you, Lawrence!—Ann Charters, editor of The Portable Beat Reader and Kerouac: A Biography
“Publisher-poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s next book, due out less than a week before his 100th birthday, has been dubbed a 'closing statement’ on an almost impossibly fecund life, and an energetic take on what the near future might hold in store for the rest of us… He was and continues to be a reticent cultural gatekeeper, an unassuming curator.”—Lit Hub, “Most Anticipated Books of 2019”