David Lentz's Reviews > Look Homeward, Angel

Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
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Jun 11, 2011

it was amazing

When Thomas Wolfe is at his best, his writing is inspired, lyrical and athletic. Clearly, the work may be considered by some to be self-indulgent as the story line stays pretty close to home. Home is located in the hills of western North Carolina at his mother's boarding house, Dixieland. When a writer is fixed on his or her autobiography, and in Wolfe's case this involves his childhood, early youth and college education, the writing seems more non-fiction than fiction. This story is essentially Wolfe's autobiography like a novel from Proust. I wished that his jazz riffs from his personal experience were somewhat more improvizational and that he had ventured a bit further in his storyline as often this is a sign of immature talent in a novelist. But Wolfe's theme is home, after all, and if you enjoy coming-of-age stories, then you can savor this one. Wolfe does prove his real talent when he gets caught up in the mysticism of the moment and to his credit when he does so, his prose launches into a higher angelic ionosphere. His vocabulary is impressive and the writing, in many places, is so good that I found myself slowing down simply to savor the beauty of his use of language. Wolfe was relatively young when he wrote this novel and it brims with idealism and vitality and energy. This novel is an American classic of the South and well worth the reading for Wolfe's pure lyricism alone.
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06/25/2016 marked as: read

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Thomas Allen Wolfe's writing is comparable to J. Updike; unfortunately Updike died a year or two ago after writing about 50 novel, books of poetry, and books of short stories.


David Lentz Updike was focused upon suburban adultery. Not sure I see the connection between Thomas Wolfe and Updike. There would seem to be a stronger creative link between Tom Wolfe and John Updike. Can you clarify, please?


David Lentz Dear Rajeev,
Maybe start with this novel and then go onto "You Can't Go Home, Again." Both are excellent novels written by one of the best American novelists of the 20th century. Highly autobiographical in both cases. If you like one novel, then read the second. As his novels are long, I stopped after reading two novels and felt that I had a good grasp of his strengths as a novelist.
I hope this helps you, Rajeev.
Cordially,
David


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