Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Old School, by Tobias Wolff

 Great book. One of the many "school" books out there. Not on this list, but should be.

Spoilers below:

In short, this book is about plagiarism. The main character blatantly steals a story from an author at a girl's school nearby his private school. Change a few names, voila, brand new story, that no one has read. But this one wins the competition leading to an audience with "Papa" Ernest Hemingway. Prior to that, the school had been visited by Robert Frost and Ayn Rand. The main character got sucked into The Fountainhead, reading it, IIRC, six times, but then Ms. Rand came to the school and ruined Atlas Shrugged for him simply by answering questions and dissing Hemingway. 

Hemingway never makes it. The setting/timing places this story right at his suicide. No matter, the main character gets caught stealing the story and is booted from school. In an interesting twist, he has lunch with the author of the original story five years on, and she blows it off as a lark. 

The main guy ends up doing just fine, with wife and three kids and apparently an actual writer (he's been invited to his alma mater, the one that threw him out weeks before graduation). So, all's well that ends well. 

Spoilers above^^^

I'm going to have to look up more books by Mr. Wolff. This one was excellent. 



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