Look Homeward, Angel

Idolised by Jack Kerouac, and influential to Ray Bradbury and Philip Roth, Thomas Wolfe once had a reputation rivalling Hemingway and Fitzgerald.

Look Homeward, Angel, is his thinly disguised autobiography based on his early years in Asheville, North Carolina. His strength of characterisation and command of rhetoric instantly made an impression on contemporaries. Critically successful, with Look Homeward, Angel, Wolfe was somewhat received as a genius in the making.

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  1. Straight from the heart - the truest "American" novel
    /Mark Shanks

    I feel sorry for anyone who can't find echoes of their own youth in Wolfe's undeniably Romantic writing. You won't find clipped Hemingway-esque sentences, nor the pages-long obscure wanderings of fellow Southerner Faulkner, but Wolfe recreates his world so perfectly that filming it would be redundant. "Self-absorbed"? Yes, how else could anyone produce a literary translation of a life's experience? Cliched? Not when it was written, although as a "coming of age" novel it has many predecessors, none were so ambitious in scope or detail. Achingly, achingly nostalgic, beautifully written, TRUE to itself, sparing nothing of the author or his vision. Pretentious? Hardly, especially when set next to the Oprah-fied books on the best-seller lists today. This and its immediate succesor "Of Time and the River" are, to me, arguably the finest books ever written describing not just life in America but more importantly the sense of loss through time and distance of love, family, and home and the emotional maturation that follows. No, I couldn't recommend this to EVERYbody, but if you haven't become too sophisticated to remember what it was really like to be young, lonely, in love, or homesick, or to see though a child's eyes the wonder in a leaf, a stone, a door; to cry "Oh, lost!" over a memory, you will find much to cherish in this book.

  2. And October Came Again
    /Natalie Simpspndach

    What can one say about Thomas Wolfe, brilliant, tormented, unlucky, always running from those who loved him. Fell in love with women who did not love him. He was unable to sleep most nights so he wondered the streets looking always looking for something to explain his life to himself. A genius who never found peace in this life. He had very little order or discipline in his work. The book is filled with dark and beautiful description of everything around him. I will never see fall the same way as I did before I read this novel.