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Lost Boy: A Novella

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  523 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Thomas Wolfe's novella The Lost Boy is a captivating and poignant retelling of an episode from Wolfe's childhood. For this special, illustrated edition, James Clark unearthed Wolfe's original manuscript for the story, which was first published in Redbook in a heavily abridged form. This edition marks the first appearance of the original novella as Wolfe wrote it and its fi ...more
Paperback, Abridged, 95 pages
Published August 26th 1994 by University of North Carolina Press (first published 1937)
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3.94  · 
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 ·  523 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Luís C.
Written in 1937 and never before published in unabridged form, this poignant autobiographical novella explores the themes of time and remembrance that Wolfe later amplified in Look Homeward, Angel. The material restored in the new edition includes passages of lush description and a scene that reflects the prejudices of a bygone era. Wolfe's elder brother died in 1904, and the loss left the boys' mother with lasting psychic scars. Wolfe dramatized the tragedy via this polyphonic elegy. In part on ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
The Novella is in four parts each told by a different family member, and their own view about one child, a boy named Grover. Grover lives his childhood as a forty year old man in a childs body. He is the best child and the smartest (per his mother). Taking care of his siblings as if he were their caretaker and not their mother and father.

Grover gets deathly sick after taking care of his sister and later dies of Tyfoid Fever at the age of twelve (Wolfe's real brother died of the same and at the
I have never read Thomas Wolfe, until now that is. Of course I want to read "Look Homeward Angel"; it's been on my want to read list for awhile. But when I saw this novella I thought I would use it as my introduction to Wolfe. I wasn't disappointed as you can see from my 5 star rating. I was surprised by how much I liked this story, especially the writing style. It reminded me of my past as a child, and I'm sure Wolfe was thinking of his own childhood memories when he wrote this.
Aug 28, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Catching up on Classics
You may read online here
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Lost Boy, Found

Thanks to the auspices of the University of North Carolina Press this incarnation of one of the wonders of Thomas Wolfe rises out of the past intact. Apparently the original novella was written in 1937, then edited rather drastically for publication in Redbook (for reasons that are obvious in reading the full novella), the complete and unabridged novella is presented here in a fine edition that includes the illustrations by Ed Lindlof and the obvious commitment of editing by J
Sally Atwell Williams
As the title say, this is a novella, written by Thomas Wolfe, about his childhood, but keeping it fiction by using the last name Gant, the name of the family in Look Homeward, Angel. At the time, the family was in St. Louis, Missouri, to see the World's Fair and stayed there for about 7-8 months.

This little book, which was edited and with an introduction by James W. Clark, Jr, is in four parts.
Part One is Thomas' remembering his older brother, Grover. Part Two is the dialogue of their mother J
M.R. Dowsing
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A real pleasure to re-enter the beautifully-evoked world of Thomas Wolfe, however briefly. This novella (previously published in a shorter version) is an extra addition to the Gant cycle and is very moving without ever resorting to cheap sentimentality.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful story!

I simply cannot get over just how beautifully written this story is...I am a little bit saddened that it ended. I will definitely be reading more of Thomas Wolfe.
Joel Mccann
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thomas Wolfe can make you can see, smell and feel everything in his books. Even in a short story like The Lost Boy his descriptions are fabulous.
Paul Korkhin
Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Captures something of the strange effects memory and nostalgia has on us. It's a good read.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
This was something I could relate to. I liked his description and sense of stylized development of a scene. He used repetition and plenty of descriptors to tell his story. And I almost didn't finish it after his handling of the candy man's coarseness with Grover. I don't have any children and I'm a little sensitive about me wasting my chances on propagating the next generation. I hope that kind of repressed feeling never surfaces on the part of the candy salesman and his father. One thing though ...more
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I watched Genius, the movie, about Thomas Wolfe, and decided to read one of his books. His novels were unseemly long, 700-800 pages in length. This was not the year of long novels, so I found Wolfe's novella.

This was such a touching story, told from four perspectives: Grover himself, his mother's, his older sister, and his younger brother. It was told in the round and focused on the effects of time and how we can't get back time spent with loved ones and how memories are all that we carry.

At tim
Paula Shreckhise
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was very poetic prose. Remembrances of a child and of relatives of that child. Very sad at times , the author uses steam of consciousness prose. It was especially interesting to me because I lived in St. Louis and could picture the places he talked about. It had information about the 1904 Worlds Fair. Great novella . I got it because I watched a movie about Thomas Wolfe's life. Very worth the read.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novella is a loving tribute by Thomas Wolfe to his older brother Grover.
Thomas was only four when his brother succumbed to Typhoid fever at age 12.
Told in 4 parts by different family members, their memories of the "lost" boy helped bring back the big brother that Thomas struggled to remember.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My favourite short work about the loss of childhood innocence and nostalgia/rememberence. Powerfull. Great use of the literary form.
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Even books like this can teach you lessons.
Scott Moonen
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I picked this up at the used book store thinking I was getting a short introduction to a different Thomas Wolfe. But I'm quite pleased at the serendipity.
Carol McMahan
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very touching depiction of childhood memories and family relationships. I enjoyed the use of dialogue to portray the characters. Wolf's unique writing style is captivating.
Maria Carmo
This is a puzzling book. It is written in a syncopated style that is almost as a human mind, hazardously remembering bits of the past, with its vivid sensations and at the same time, it natural fogginess, for these things are no more... The Author shows an almost "adoration" of his Brother, and yet, what transpires from some of the remembrances (especially the one of his Sister) is that all other children were a bit "neglected" when compared to the devotion their parents (and especially the Moth ...more
Colin Cox
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thomas Wolfe's The Lost Boy is a stunning piece of fiction that understands the logic of desire, loss, and the contradictory coupling of satisfaction and dissatisfaction better than many texts from this period. The Lost Boy is a hyper-romantic text, brimming with decorative language and disarming visual imagery that, admittedly, may limit Wolfe's attempts at building a coherent narrative environment. Nevertheless, The Lost Boy is an evocative text that asks readers to grapple with the potential ...more
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Who am I to critique the immortal Thomas Wolfe? I am nothing, that's what. How can I range myself against the flood of fanatic fans of this acclaimed writer? Yes, it reflects a regional and antiquated sentiment hopefully banished to history, keep alive only by fringe groups. But frankly, I didn't like this novella at all. While the story is sad, and does reflect a nostalgia for small Southern towns and old ways of life, and is heartbreaking in its remembrance of a favored life cut short, and fur ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Somewhere I read that this novella was Thomas Wolfe's most perfect book. The truth is that I hadn't read Wolfe since I was in high school, and, although I had loved Look Homeward Angel as an adolescent, as a much older adult, I was a bit wary. And although this novella has its excesses (Wolfe, after all), it's one of the most beautiful short works I've read in a long time. It's the story of Wolfe's own search for an older brother who passed away when Wolfe was three or four. The book is narrated ...more
GK Stritch
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read "The Lost Boy" because of my interest in Kerouac. It is an odd novella about loss in four parts, with some beautifully drawn images and parallels to Kerouac: the older beloved brother who dies as a young boy, the adoring mother who never gets over the death of her favorite child, a sister's reflections, and a younger brother trying to remember.

These words could be from "On the Road," "And he feels nothing but absence, absence and the desolation of America, the loneliness and sadness of th
Julie Rylie
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
ok so this is how you know a book was pretty event less when you didn't write reviews since May and you have to go on the internet and try to find a summary of what this was about... oh right, the kid that was accused of stealing candy in the candy store and then dies of some sort of fever and the other brother than returns to the house of their childhood where other people are living there now and he goes to the room of his deceised brother... yes, that was it! It just means it was just kinda b ...more
Mar 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Thomas Wolfe fans
The nostalgia used in "Look Homeward Angel" is again used in this novella. It's written from four vantage points, the first being the boy's impression. The second in through the eyes of his adoring mother, and the third from the viewpoint of his sister, and it is here that we learned that the lost boy had died. The final account - sort of a "You can't Go Home Again" scenario is an account of the writer managing to find the home in which the family had lived and even finding the room in which the ...more
Charles C VanCott
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poignant and Personal

Wolfe's sadness over the childhood loss of his brother Grover pours from every word of this beautiful tale told from the perspectives of different family members, including Grover and Wolfe.

My profession entails a fair amount of writing.I try to keep my sentences short and simple for the sake of clarity. Doing so has not dimmed my love of writing that sacrifices brevity for beauty. On that score, this work does not disappoint.

This was my first experience with Thomas Wolfe. I
Feb 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seeing the movie "Genius" sparked my interest in the writings of Thomas Wolfe. His style was prolific, yet fractured. His separation of compound words such as any one, instead of anyone was quite unique. Still it was a bit hard to understand as the writing is like a strange steam of consciousness. Almost a mania of descriptive words.
Julie Barrett
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
The lost boy by Wolfe_ Thomas - Clark_ James William
1892 Grover was born. Stories of the family growing up in CA and traveling to St. Louis to the Worlds Fair. Other members of the family chime in
with their recollections of the one who goes lost.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).
Pia Jensen Ray
Feb 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
Very confusing to read. I kept reading, hoping that something nice and giving would show up, but I felt that I had wasted my time in the end.

But well, I have a hard time trying to remember my childhood (my memory is really bad), and have never been a person that keeps bonds for long - so maybe I just couldn't identify myself with anything in the story.
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Thomas Clayton Wolfe (October 3, 1900 – September 15, 1938) was an American novelist of the early twentieth century.

Wolfe wrote four lengthy novels, plus many short stories, dramatic works and novellas. He is known for mixing highly original, poetic, rhapsodic, and impressionistic prose with autobiographical writing. His books, written and published from the 1920s to the 1940s, vividly reflect on
“And he knew that he would never come again, and that lost magic would not come again. Lost now was all of it-the street, the heat, King's Highway, and Tom the Piper's son, all mixed in with the vast and drowsy murmur of the Fair, and with the sense of absence in the afternoon, and the house that waited, and the child that dreamed. And out of the enchanted wood, that thicket of man's memory, Eugene knew that the dark eye and the quiet face of his friend and brother-poor child, life's stranger, and life's exile, lost like all of us, a cipher in blind mazes, long ago-the lost boy was gone forever, and would not return.” 7 likes
“Antes de continuar me volví para ver si el tiempo seguía allí.” 5 likes
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