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The unnamed narrator is one of several boys whose life revolves around the school's English teachers, those polymaths who seemed to know "exactly what was most worth knowing." For the boys, literature is the center of life, and their obsession culminates in a series of literary competitions during their final year. The prize in each is a private audience with a visiting writer who serves as judge for the entries.
At first, the narrator is entirely taken with the battle. As he fails in his effort to catch Robert Frost's attention and then is unable--due to illness--to even compete for his moment with Ayn Rand, he devotes his energies to a masterpiece for his hero, Hemingway. But, confronting the blank page, the narrator discovers his cowardice, his duplicity. He has withheld himself, he realizes, even from his roommate. He has used his fiction to create a patrician gentility, a mask for his middle class home and his Jewish ancestry. Through the competition for Hemingway, fittingly, all of his illusions about literature dissolve.
Old School is a small, neatly made book, spare and clear in its prose. Each chapter is self-contained and free of anything extraneous to the essentials of plot, mood, and character. Near the end of the novel, the narrator, now a respected writer, imagines that he might one day write about his school days. But he is daunted. "Memory," he says, "is a dream to begin with, and what I had was a dream of memory, not to be put to the test." Old School enters this interplay between dreams and the adult interrogation of memory. Risking sentimentality, Wolff confronts a golden age that never was. From the confrontation, he distills a powerful novel of failed expectations and, ultimately, redemptive self-awareness. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A Very good book with no scratches or ripped pages, clear words printed with no mistakes. it was same as expected.Published 2 months ago by TW
This was a great introduction to the life of students and teachers in the early 60's at a somewhat pretentious east coast prep school. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Edginton
So much food for thought...... Such a wonderful exploration of what makes us human and how we search for our own humanityPublished 4 months ago by sally modest
having gone to boarding school for 4 years ,I particularly enjoyed Old School . After finishing I googled the afore mentioned authors and walked down memory lane.Published 4 months ago by Elsie C Holmes
I realize that it is chancy to buy a used book, but I was disappointed in the condition of this one. It's not in good condition and seems even to be a bit unclean. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Nancy H. Whatley
Along with Raymond Carver and George Saunders surely Wolff is surely among the lasting 20th-21st century American authors. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Constantine Evans
My granddaughter had to have this book for School. Boy! did she and the class really enjoyed this book. I am planning on reading the book this winter. GREAT BOOK!!!Published 7 months ago by Fern Henton
I actually thought I was reading a continuation of Wolff's memoir, "A Boy's Life", since it fit with the previous story so well. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Sheila
This atmospheric story about boarding school life captures the flavour and sense of place of a New England prep school with a literary culture as seen through the eyes of a... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Louis Foster