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Old School

by

Old School Cover

 

Staff Pick

In this novel we see vulnerable and clumsy youth parallel to the polished and comfortable status which class and money provide. We meet determination, impersonation, and observation as the future opens and closes with perennial flair.
Recommended by Donna, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"It's 1961, and our narrator's final year at a very swanky, and very self-consciously literary, boarding school. The school's Little Lord Fauntleroys in-training are, with the exception of the narrator, rich, and they're all thoroughly enamored of the 'literary life.'...Remarkably, Old School, while Tobias Wolff's seventh book, is his first novel. It's an elegant ode to writers, and to writing, from one of our most exquisite storytellers." Adrienne Miller, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

"Throughout Old School, Wolff displays exceptional skill in capturing the small sights and sensations that evoke the whole rarefied world he's taking us back to....He conveys the sublimation and sexual messaging that occur all at once when the boys sing to a master's young wife ('It was a kind of ravishing'), and with the same exactitude discerns the boys' wary relations with one another....It can stand with the best of what some old boys (Louis Auchincloss, Richard Yates) have produced in a waning American genre." Thomas Mallon, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The author of the genre-defining memoir This Boys Life, the PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novella The Barracks Thief, and short stories acclaimed as modern classics, Tobias Wolff now gives us his first novel.

Determined to fit in at his New England prep school, the narrator has learned to mimic the bearing and manners of his adoptive tribe while concealing as much as possible about himself. His final year, however, unravels everything hes achieved, and steers his destiny in directions no one could have predicted.

The schools mystique is rooted in Literature, and for many boys this becomes an obsession, editing the review and competing for the attention of visiting writers whose fame helps to perpetuate the tradition. Robert Frost, soon to appear at JFKs inauguration, is far less controversial than the next visitor, Ayn Rand. But the final guest is one whose blessing a young writer would do almost anything to gain.

No one writes more astutely than Wolff about the process by which character is formed, and here he illuminates the irresistible power, even the violence, of the self-creative urge. Resonant in ways at once contemporary and timeless, Old School is a masterful achievement by one of the finest writers of our time.

Review:

"[A] marvelous novel with resonance for old and young alike. [Wolff's] storytelling is economical, his prose is elegant, and his meditations are utterly timeless. Some readers may wish to turn from the last page to the first and begin again." Keir Graff, Booklist

Review:

"A witty but ultimately rather pointless debut....Wolff writes well page by page....An odd pastiche that never coheres...Wolff offers some nice vignettes that add up to considerably less than the sum of their parts." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

The author of the genre-defining memoir This Boy's Life and The Barracks Thief now presents his first novel about a young boy at New England prep school obsessed with visiting authors.

Synopsis:

A novel about boarding school, hardcore Scrabble fanatics, and frackingand#8212;a new kind of environmental novel by a spokesman and chief strategist for Common Cause.

Synopsis:

The Fracking Kingand#160;follows Winston Crwthand#8212;a boarding-school kid, loner, and Scrabble prodigyand#8212;who becomes an unlikely hero in the fight to stop fracking in Pennsylvania. Truth is a rare commodity in politics, and the idea of and#8220;winningand#8221; a debate as cleanly and simply as youand#8217;d win a Scrabble game can seem impossible. But with the truth on his side, a jar of toxic and#8220;frackwater,and#8221; and the belief that he can win a Scrabble tournament whose first prize is a meeting with the governor, Winston creates a moment of devastating truth for her and for the people who want to frack the state.

For all its thoughtful environmental concerns, The Fracking King is also a hopeful book about the power of believing in yourself and pursuing your own particular genius. Winstonand#8217;s Scrabble prowess has its freakish side, but it also makes him genuinely heroic, and his lexical predicaments are funny, shocking, dirty, and sometimes mind-boggling. This is the rare, satisfying debut thatand#8217;s as playful as it is profound.

About the Author

Tobias Wolff lives in Northern California and teaches at Stanford University. He has received the Rea Award for excellence in the short story, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Faulkner Award.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375401466
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Wolff, Tobias
Author:
Browning, James
Publisher:
New Harvest
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Authors
Subject:
New england
Subject:
Creative writing
Subject:
Teenage boys
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Preparatory schools
Subject:
Preparatory school students
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
1676
Publication Date:
November 4, 2003
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
9 b/w
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Old School Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 192 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9780375401466 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

In this novel we see vulnerable and clumsy youth parallel to the polished and comfortable status which class and money provide. We meet determination, impersonation, and observation as the future opens and closes with perennial flair.

"Review A Day" by , "It's 1961, and our narrator's final year at a very swanky, and very self-consciously literary, boarding school. The school's Little Lord Fauntleroys in-training are, with the exception of the narrator, rich, and they're all thoroughly enamored of the 'literary life.'...Remarkably, Old School, while Tobias Wolff's seventh book, is his first novel. It's an elegant ode to writers, and to writing, from one of our most exquisite storytellers." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review A Day" by , "Throughout Old School, Wolff displays exceptional skill in capturing the small sights and sensations that evoke the whole rarefied world he's taking us back to....He conveys the sublimation and sexual messaging that occur all at once when the boys sing to a master's young wife ('It was a kind of ravishing'), and with the same exactitude discerns the boys' wary relations with one another....It can stand with the best of what some old boys (Louis Auchincloss, Richard Yates) have produced in a waning American genre." (read the entire Atlantic review)
"Review" by , "[A] marvelous novel with resonance for old and young alike. [Wolff's] storytelling is economical, his prose is elegant, and his meditations are utterly timeless. Some readers may wish to turn from the last page to the first and begin again."
"Review" by , "A witty but ultimately rather pointless debut....Wolff writes well page by page....An odd pastiche that never coheres...Wolff offers some nice vignettes that add up to considerably less than the sum of their parts."
"Synopsis" by , The author of the genre-defining memoir This Boy's Life and The Barracks Thief now presents his first novel about a young boy at New England prep school obsessed with visiting authors.
"Synopsis" by ,

A novel about boarding school, hardcore Scrabble fanatics, and frackingand#8212;a new kind of environmental novel by a spokesman and chief strategist for Common Cause.

"Synopsis" by ,
The Fracking Kingand#160;follows Winston Crwthand#8212;a boarding-school kid, loner, and Scrabble prodigyand#8212;who becomes an unlikely hero in the fight to stop fracking in Pennsylvania. Truth is a rare commodity in politics, and the idea of and#8220;winningand#8221; a debate as cleanly and simply as youand#8217;d win a Scrabble game can seem impossible. But with the truth on his side, a jar of toxic and#8220;frackwater,and#8221; and the belief that he can win a Scrabble tournament whose first prize is a meeting with the governor, Winston creates a moment of devastating truth for her and for the people who want to frack the state.

For all its thoughtful environmental concerns, The Fracking King is also a hopeful book about the power of believing in yourself and pursuing your own particular genius. Winstonand#8217;s Scrabble prowess has its freakish side, but it also makes him genuinely heroic, and his lexical predicaments are funny, shocking, dirty, and sometimes mind-boggling. This is the rare, satisfying debut thatand#8217;s as playful as it is profound.

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