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The Hair of Harold Roux
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The Hair of Harold Roux

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  111 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In 1975 the National Book Award Fiction Prize was awarded to two writers: Robert Stone and Thomas Williams. Yet only Stone's "Dog Soldiers" is still remembered today. That oversight is startling when considering the literary impact of "The Hair of Harold Roux." A dazzlingly crafted novel-within-a-novel hailed as a masterpiece, it deserves a new generation of readers. "In T ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published February 1st 1974)
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Emily
I have absolutely no idea how this book ended up in my reading pile; I can only assume it was because it won a national book award in the 70s and I must have read a glowing review or something; apparently I should have known better. It IS well written, but that redeems very little to me when the main character (in fact most of the characters) are unlikable and the plot uninteresting. This is a novel inside a novel: mid-life-crisis-author writing a quasi autobiographical book about his time at c ...more
Zachary Krug
Why has no one read this great novel? Rectify yourselves immediately.
Steve Smits
This book won the National Book Award in 1975, but has largely been forgotten since,a shame for it's an excellent novel thankfully now being reissued. It is a complex, multi-layered work that touches on many themes that despite the nearly forty years since first published are still evocative (true, I suppose, of all significant works of fiction). Aaron Benham is an English professor at a New England college and an author struggling to focus on a novel he's writing. As he goes through two days of ...more
wally
this looks to be a good story, present tense even....yay!


i'll quote the dust-jacket: in summary, this new novel appears to be deceptively straightforward.

yes.

new, in 1966. and yet another story that i wish i had read back where i come from...cue the song, so much water flowing underneath the bridge...and so on.

this is not a simple tale. this is a tale w/stories inside, characters coming and going, past, present, now. i said, 'present tense even'....yes.

and there are tense shifts...this one has
...more
Angela
Aaron Benham, writer, professor, husband, father, is having a midlife crisis.

He's stalled on his latest novel; he's dealing with the hysterical mother of a missing student as well as the worried wife of a doctoral candidate who won't finish his thesis; and he's disappointed his family once again by forgetting about the family trip they had planned. During that long weekend alone, while his family has gone on without him, Aaron wrestles with age-old questions: Who am I? How did I get here? What i
...more
Phyllis
I didn't think I was going to like this book. It got off to a slow start. But by the end, I was wondering how quickly I could find more of Thomas Williams' books, and how it is that I managed to have never previously heard of this American author (who passed away in the 70s I think).
Newengland
National Book Award winner. Novel within a novel. New England setting. Terrific writing. What's not to love? Other than the lousy title, I'm still not sure why this isn't better known and better loved by readers who consider themselves readers everywhere.
Terri
'The Hair of Harold Roux' by Thoms Williams is a seemingly simple yet complex novel that explores the past and how people shape their lives from those events. Aaron Benham is a college professor trying to complete a novel. He must deal with quite a few problems in other people's lives while doing so, but manages to get some things down on paper.

This book is written as a novel within a novel, so much of the book the reader sees is the novel that Aaron Benham is writing. This novel, titled 'The H
...more
Anne
Thomas Williams' novel is complex--it is a story within a story that is rooted in the contentious post-Vietnam era. ‘The Hair of Harold Roux’ was published over thirty years ago, and one of the first things I noticed is that this book reads very much like it was written/published in the 1970s. I had a hard time connecting with the characters (this may just be a generational thing—I am a child of the 80s and 90s) and it just felt like an ‘older’ book. The other big issue I took with this novel wa ...more
Elizabeth Whitehead
Thomas Williams' novel “The Hair of Harold Roux” is quite complex. The story is written within a story during the time of the post Vietnam War. It was published over thirty years ago, and although it has received a National Book Award I found it to be hard to connect to the characters. It was also hard to follow the story line at times. I received this book as a First Reader book from Goodreads and so I try very hard to read the books that I receive that way. This book took me a very long time t ...more
Katrina
This was a Goodreads/firstreads giveaway from the publisher.

This novel is being presented as a lost classic, the forgotten winner of 1975's National Book Award. It falls a little short of that descriptor but not by much. It is an interesting tale of how we must (like a novelist) construct our own stories and character. The novel-within-the-novel conceit is well done although some of the female and minority characterizations are a little off-putting.
Frances Ozimec
Wow - who can I discuss this book with? This was not an easy read but there is so much here that it is one of those books I know I will read again. Not easy to find a review either (unless one goes to Google) - but in the book club sites you get "no records found" - puzzling - this book won the National Book Award
Michele
I liked, not sure I loved...hard to pick up and put down (not made to be a subway commute book) - but when I did manage to get into it there were moments I did very much enjoy. Reminded me of Irving, Updike, etc. while reading and found out in the Afterword that Irving was his student which was very interesante.
Scott
A very complex book in it's flipping between the story of the author (itself semi-autobiographical) and the semi-autobiographical book he is trying to write....but well worth the read. The angst of the middle aged author, stuck in trying to write the story, stuck in his life is very well done.
Laurel
Pete gave me a copy of The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams because he thought TG might be interested in the book (TG was not interested). Not sure why I decided to read THOHR now. It took me awhile to get the three novels in the book...I'm slow.
Cindy
Thank you Goodreads! Just won this book!

Strange but interesting book. I am not quite sure if i liked the writing style. I absolutely HATE the title of the book! If i had not won this book I would never have bought it because of the title. Sorry!!!!
night music -- bring on the clowns ♫
Too much testosterone: guy attitudes, guy beliefs, guy acts, guy toys, guy vs guy, guy vs girl, etc. And of course all the "women" love and forgive everything. Main character stays the same cock-of-the-walk jerk from beginning to end.
Debra
Nov 27, 2011 Debra marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Stephen King recommended book as noted in Chapter 10 of Berkley's 1983 paperback edition of Danse Macabre.
Faye
So glad this was recommended to me. Thomas Williams was a mentor to John Irving. Post WWII GI Bill college life is described in such a creative and brutally realistic way.
Shannon
Jun 30, 2011 Shannon is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
*I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.*
Tuck
superb novel of post wwii campus life, with a nice noir twist.
David
Blows the mystique of academia.
Marie Rama
A beautiful and disturbing book.
Chelsea Northrop
first reads winner
Anne Marie
Anne Marie marked it as to-read
Mar 23, 2015
Sally
Sally marked it as to-read
Mar 22, 2015
Maria
Maria marked it as to-read
Mar 18, 2015
Kate
Kate marked it as to-read
Mar 15, 2015
Ruby-rose Niemann
Ruby-rose Niemann marked it as to-read
Mar 14, 2015
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“in the absence of real power blood seemed the only alternative.

though he could walk away, and had to walk away, he could not walk away with impunity. he could never be a mordantly amused or merely interested observer of the beast.”
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