Jan 26, 08
Read in January, 2008
I enjoyed this novel very much, perhaps most of all because it reminded me of my own reading experiences in high school--how falling in love with Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Tom Robbins, Sandra Cisneros, and Flaubert shaped my sense of self--or my desire to have a specific kind of self. And just like Wolff's narrator, I had a brief love affair with Ayn Rand's Fountainhead, which ended when I tried to read Atlas Shrugged.
It's a simple novel that does something bold (yet still subtle--how can that be?) in terms of point of view and structure at its end.
I found this passage especially moving:
"A more truthful dust jacket would say that the author, after much floundering, went to college and worked like the drones he'd once despised, kept reasonable hours, learned to be alone in a room, learned to throw stuff out, learned to keep gnawing the same bone until it cracked. It would say that the author lived more like a banker than an outlaw and that his deepest pleasures were familial--hearing his wife sing as she worked in the garden, unzipping her dress after a party; seeing his most solemn child laugh at something he said. The brief years of friendship with his father before he died, never once alowing that his son had anything to be pardoned for."
...read the book to get the paragraphs which follow this one, which are also terrific...