by Julie HaleSeptember 2004
After a 23-year career, during which he published numerous acclaimed short story collections and a pair of memoirs, Wolff now turns his hand to a novel about life at a New England prep school in the 1960s. The narrator, an unnamed boy, is one of many literature-lovers at the institution who is eager to prove himself in a string of upcoming writing competitions to be judged by a group of visiting authors. Struggling with a story that will be read by Ernest Hemingway, the boy anxious to impress appropriates an idea for his narrative's plotline and ends up disclosing a secret about his identity that he had painstakingly concealed from his fellow students. The consequences are devastating. This classic coming-of-age novel offers unique perspectives on the demands of the writing process. A reading group guide is available at www.readinggroupcenter.com.