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The Hair of Harold Roux

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  262 Ratings  ·  51 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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Cosimo
Oct 27, 2015 Cosimo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ogni frammento che ho amato

“Penso riconoscerete le opere non trascurabili. Magari saranno manchevoli e imperfette – forse così devono essere per loro stessa natura. Ma non avrete difficoltà a riconoscerle, perché quando vi ci imbatterete vi assorbiranno completamente, e stretti nella loro morsa non ci sarà spazio per smorfie di autocompiacimento. Non le potrete mai capire. Si avvicinano all’imperdonabile, vi fanno sentire come non vorreste sentirvi. E quando accade, già vi hanno cambiato la vita
...more
Simona
Dec 04, 2015 Simona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alla consegna del premio per il Book National Ward, Thomas Williams, riguardo questo libro, affermò che «all’interno dell’universo della fiction dovrebbero muoversi e respirare personaggi tondi, vivi, vulnerabili".
Leggendo "I capelli di Harold Roux" ci si rende sempre più conto di cosa intendesse Williams con questa opera.
I personaggi di quest'opera sono reali, tangibili, ma anche contraddittori, come dimostra il protagonista, Aaron, un uomo coscienzioso, ma che ama il rischio, non ama la viole
...more
Arwen56
Dec 22, 2015 Arwen56 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lett-americana, usa
Un intreccio complesso, che ci offre un professore/scrittore (Thomas Williams) che scrive di un professore/scrittore (Aaron Benham), che scrive di se stesso (Allard Benson), quando ancora non era un professore/scrittore, bensì un ragazzo che avrebbe potuto diventare qualunque cosa avesse voluto. E poi c’è Harold Roux, i cui capelli signoreggiano nel titolo e nel fiammeggiante colore rosso della copertina italiana, ma, ahimè, latitano dalla testa del personaggio. E anche lui scrive, anche se sare ...more
Roberto
Dec 16, 2015 Roberto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Williams, arrivato alla mezza età, scrive un libro, I capelli di Harold Roux. Dove descrive sé stesso nei panni del protagonista, che si chiama Aaron Benham, che è infatti uno scrittore di mezza età, un po’ in crisi.

E cosa fa Aaron? Sta scrivendo un libro, che si intitola I capelli di Harold Roux, in cui descrive sé stesso nei panni del protagonista, Allard, ventenne e reduce dalla seconda guerra mondiale.

Le storie si svolgono quindi su vari livelli, con frequenti flashback e incisi di no
...more
Mircalla64
Nov 29, 2015 Mircalla64 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
i capelli e gli strati...

I Capelli di Harold Roux è un metalibro, nel senso classico del termine, dentro ci sono, oltre le storie, quelle ci dovrebbero essere sempre in un libro, si spera, oltre quelle si diceva ci sono i personaggi su più livelli, livelli che si sbucciano un tantino alla volta e disvelano le vere intenzioni dell'autore: trascinare il lettore nel valzer più frenetico possibile in modo da non consentirgli di mollare, anche se la testa cominciasse a girare, il lettore continuerà
...more
Diletta
Jan 08, 2016 Diletta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ci ho messo un po' a farmelo piacere. Le prime venti pagine sono state lette con un naso un po' troppo arricciato. Il naso da "ah, sì? Che bravo". Ma non perché alla fine tutto si riduce a una mastodontica operazione metaletteraria. Ma perché trovavo indigesto lui, Aaron. Poi ho capito, si trattava della Sindrome Clara Oswald. La Sindrome Clara Oswald recita "se non ti piace un personaggio è perché non riesci ad accettare che in parte ti assomigli". Esattamente. Quando l'ho capito ho divorato il ...more
Ken
Feb 22, 2008 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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).
Zachary Krug
Jan 13, 2011 Zachary Krug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why has no one read this great novel? Rectify yourselves immediately.
Bruno
UN LIBRO CHE PARLA DI UN LIBRO CHE PARLA DI UN RAGAZZO CON UN PARRUCCHINO, DEI SUOI AMICI E DELLA LORO VITA AL COLLEGE NEL SECONDO DOPOGUERRA.

3.5/5

Come avrete inteso la narrazione avviene su diversi livelli narrativi, espediente sicuramente innovativo all'epoca della pubblicazione - il 1974 - ma che difatti risulta molto accattivante ancora oggi. Il protagonista è Aaron Benham, professore universitario attualmente in anno sabbatico per dedicarsi alla scrittura del proprio romanzo, impresa che
...more
Emily
Mar 12, 2012 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
wally
Apr 18, 2011 wally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: williams
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
Steve Smits
Jul 08, 2011 Steve Smits rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
John
Jul 05, 2016 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me. (view spoiler) The book is a novel within a novel The "Novel" is centered around Aaron Benham A professor of literature on leave to write. a novel. The "meta-novel" if you will is the titular one. That is centered around the fictional Aaron Benham in the thinly disguised character of Allard Benson and the events of a year he'd spent in college back in the forties. Hatold Roux is his roommate. He wears a ...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
Alfonso D'agostino
“I capelli di Harold Roux” è uno di quei libri che non so mai come definire: c’è moltissimo del romanzo di formazione, altrettanto del più puro realismo americano, persino una spruzzata di critica sociale. Nel racconto di uno scrittore e dei suoi guai, accoppiati a vicende tardo-adolescenziali che costituisco il più classico dei “romanzi nel romanzo “, si coglie perfettamente l’America degli anni 70, fra contestazioni, Vietnam, emancipazione femminile, confronti generazionali. Funziona, funziona ...more
Katie Tillwick
Jun 10, 2017 Katie Tillwick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Can't finish. Just don't care about the main character.
Pino Sabatelli
Mar 18, 2017 Pino Sabatelli rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Anche per questo libro vale quanto detto a proposito della presunta superiorità della letteratura d’oltreoceano rispetto alla nostra, visto che questo romanzo ha vinto il National Book Award nel 1975 battendo concorrenti come Philip Roth e Vladimir Nabokov.
Al netto dell'indubbio valore documentale, mi è sembrato un gioco metaletterario costruito con un certo talento tecnico (non a caso è molto apprezzato dagli scrittori, primo fra tutti Stephen King), ma invecchiato piuttosto male.
Nicola Manuppe
...more
Albert

In 1975 The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams shared the National Book Award with Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone. This little reading adventure began with A Flag for Sunrise, the first Robert Stone novel that I read, which I very much enjoyed. That led to my reading Dog Soldiers, which I also thoroughly enjoyed. I love reading about the backgrounds of the authors and their works. In reading about Dog Soldiers, I couldn't help but think that if I liked it that much maybe I should try The Ha
...more
Roberta
Mar 24, 2016 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, 2016
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terri
May 31, 2011 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
'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
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
Anne
May 31, 2011 Anne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
Floris
Oct 26, 2016 Floris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is clear why Stephen King calls this the best book he knows about writing. A gripping and moving tale about coming of age in the 40s and dealing with middle age in the 70s, and a beautiful window onto those periods, this is primarily a book about a writer, his writing, his craft, his struggles, and the blurring lines between his fiction and his life.

Notwithstanding the powerful characterizations of characters both bizarre and sympathetic, the greatest strength of this novel is twofold: beside
...more
HannaSchygulla
Aaron Benham ha davanti a sé un quaderno bianco con un titolo, "I capelli di Harold Roux". La sua storia si intreccia a quella dei personaggi del romanzo che vorrebbe scrivere, a una fiaba inventata per i figli, a un racconto letto agli studenti. E in agguato c'è sempre la realtà che lo strappa all'isolamento necessario per scrivere. I personaggi prendono vita per invadere a poco a poco ogni momento della sua giornata, mettendolo di fronte alla scoperta che sta raccontando la propria storia.
Nel
...more
Amy
Feb 27, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book yanked me in from the get go. Williams wonderful metaphor of the characters standing around the fire. I have a bunch of little memories from this book. Aaron, Allard, the cat, Naomi, Mary, poor George, and of course Harold. Ah, Harold and his hair. I found the Harold character in some ways similar to John Irving's "Owen Meany". Both characters so rigid with such a strong moral compass. Both have that huge Achilles' heal that make them so vulnerable to others. After looking up Thomas Wi ...more
Niamh Mahony
Feb 05, 2017 Niamh Mahony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Accidentally found this book. So glad I did. It's incredibly well written. The narrative consists of two main stories that weave seamlessly in and out of each other. If you can find a copy you really need to read this book
Lynn Pribus
Jan 19, 2016 Lynn Pribus rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I'd never heard of this one, but in his latest collection of short stories, Stephen King said this was the best novel about a writer he'd ever read.

So I gave it a shot. It had its moments, but it seemed labored, as if the author had worked really really hard to write the book. This was compounded by my concurrent reading of ANGLE OF REPOSE. A Pulitzer winner by Stegner, it was such a shining example of easy-reading, easy writing, the comparison was striking. I don't mean that Stegner is a lazy w
...more
Katrina
Aug 07, 2011 Katrina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

See also Paul Thomas
More about Thomas Williams...

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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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