This week we've been asked to blog about a favorite novel.
Tobias Wolff is continually surprising, a versatile writer. In what is billed as his first novel (although his memoirs certainly stand as novels as well), he offers a great read in OLD SCHOOL.
The book is exciting from a technical perspective in that he uses three distinct points of view. He starts in the unusual third-person plural POV--thethe point of view of an Eastern Prep School. Later he draws in on one character, a student at the school, and moves to first person to tell the center of the story. At the end of the book the first-person character fades into the background and another character takes center stage, one of the student's teachers. That portion is written in third person.
The student is a writer, and much of the plot centers around the coming-to-campus of famous authors. I don't want to give too much of this short masterpiece away, but when Any Rand comes to campus, our student, smitten with her work to begin with, comes to grips with her writing in the way we all have to. Unfortunately, our narrator has a cold when she arrives. To his horror, she complains of snot-nosed students. Only Wolff could pull it off.
It's a Swiss watch of a novel, around 200 pp. A careful reader can get a painless course in advanced narration. It's one of those books that reads easily and makes you want to read it again as soon as you turn the last page.
Causes Kevin Arnold Supports
Poetry Center San Jose -- President