26 January 2005

5. Old School by Tobias Wolff

This was a pretty good book. Another fast read, again just under 200 pages.

The story is about a kid, an all boys boarding school, the craft of writing, and the teachers.

The writing was at times funny, descriptive without being laborious, and brisk. I got into the main character, though I kept making comparisons to Holden Caufield. I guess that that was inevitable. And I'm sure Wolff thought of it too.

Apparently, from the fake stamp on the cover of the book, it was a finalist for the Pen/Faulkner Award. Fancy digs.

I wasn't moved though, and I wasn't surprised by anything that happened in the book. Whether that is from good characterization, or something else, I don't know. The two plots, on throughout the book, and the other sort of springing up in the last chapter/section, brought the theme together neatly. Almost too neatly. Wolff doesn't tell us, he shows us, but even what he is showing us is sort of, I don't know, not so brilliant and sparkling.

I've not seen the movie or read the book "This Boy's Life" (also written by Wolff) and I'm not that inspired to. I will read "In Pharoah's Army" about Wolff's days in Vietnam, though. Maybe it will be as good as Time O'Brien's "The Things They Carried." I like Wolff's style and will give it another go, just didn't fall in love with this book.

No comments: