Old School by Tobias Wolff

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Synopsis

The protagonist of Tobias Wolff’s shrewdly—and at times devastatingly—observed first novel is a boy at an elite prep school in 1960. He is an outsider who has learned to mimic the negligent manner of his more privileged classmates. Like many of them, he wants more than anything on earth to become a writer. But to do that he must first learn to tell the truth about himself.

The agency of revelation is the school literary contest, whose winner will be awarded an audience with the most legendary writer of his time. As the fever of competition infects the boy and his classmates, fraying alliances, exposing weaknesses, Old School explores the ensuing deceptions and betrayals with an unblinking eye and a bottomless store of empathy. The result is further evidence that Wolff is an authentic American master.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Tobias Wolff

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Tobias Wolff lives in Northern California and teaches at Stanford University. He has received the Rea Award for excellence in the short story, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Faulkner Award.
 
Published August 31, 2004 by Vintage. 208 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A poor boy from Baltimore who won a scholarship to an elite prep school up north, the narrator finds acceptance through literature, continually competing with his wealthier classmates to craft the perfect poem, story, or novel, as well as to win a seat on the editorial board of the school journal.

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Publishers Weekly

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A scholarship boy at a New England prep school grapples with literary ambition and insecurity in this lucid, deceptively sedate novel, set in the early 1960s and narrated by the unnamed protagonist

Oct 13 2003 | Read Full Review of Old School

The Guardian

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The Namesake Jhumpa Lahiri Flamingo, £15.99, pp304 The Gangster We Are All Looking For Le Thi Diem Thuy Picador, £12.99, pp200 Old School Tobias Wolff Bloomsbury £12.99, pp320 Wish I May Justine Picardie Picador £15.99, pp356 Jhumpa Lahiri's gracious novel, The Namesake, begi...

Jan 04 2004 | Read Full Review of Old School

The Guardian

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Old School, by Tobias Wolff (Bloomsbury, £7.99) Writing about writing is the kind of thing that gives writing a bad name;

Feb 19 2005 | Read Full Review of Old School

The Guardian

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Old School by Tobias Wolff 198pp, Bloomsbury, £12.99 Towards the end of his ground-breaking memoir This Boy's Life (1989), Tobias Wolff describes how he won a scholarship to Hill School, an ivy league establishment in Pennsylvania, by forging letters of support from his teachers at Concre...

Jan 24 2004 | Read Full Review of Old School

Publishers Weekly

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A scholarship boy at a New England prep school grapples with literary ambition and insecurity in this lucid, deceptively sedate novel, set in the early 1960s and narrated by the unnamed protagonist from the vantage point of adulthood.

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NPR

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NPR coverage of Old School by Tobias Wolff. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.

Sep 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Old School

Star Tribune

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Very little of the outside world makes an impression on the privileged boys of Tobias Wolff's excellent new novel, "Old School."

Nov 08 2003 | Read Full Review of Old School

Book Reporter

Wolff lovingly details the passion these "book drunk boys" have for great writing --- be it poems, short stories, or novels.

Jan 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Old School

Los Angeles Times

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Old School: A novel; Tobias Wolff; Alfred A. Knopf: 196 pp., $22

Dec 10 2003 | Read Full Review of Old School

BookPage

It's these literary aesthetes in the making who populate the boarding school world of Old School, Tobias Wolff's first novel.The author of the stunning memoir This Boy's Life gives us the story of an unnamed boy vying for a place in a world beyond his demographic, among those who were bred to inh...

Jan 20 2015 | Read Full Review of Old School

https://bookpage.com

It's these literary aesthetes in the making who populate the boarding school world of Old School, Tobias Wolff's first novel.The author of the stunning memoir This Boy's Life gives us the story of an unnamed boy vying for a place in a world beyond his demographic, among those who were bred to inh...

Oct 31 2016 | Read Full Review of Old School

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Jul 13 2007 | Read Full Review of Old School

ReadySteadyBook

In Tobias Wolff's Old School, a writer reminisces about his time spent at an all-boys' school in 1960s New England and the much-prided literary competition that led to his downfall.

Jan 19 2004 | Read Full Review of Old School

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