Wolff’s fictional reworking of actual events discussed

Juliet Fleming reviews Tobias Wolff’s Old School in this week’s Times Literary Supplement and offers some interesting observations on the body of Wolff’s work:

The obsessive fictional reworking of events chosen from his life gives a curious density to Wolff’s oeuvre, and draws attention to the experimental nature of his work. The effect is particularly pointed in Old School, whose antecedents include “Smokers”, a short story published in 1981, in which an unnamed scholarship boy fails to win the friendship of his schoolmates at Choate, vents his unhappiness by imagining a glamorous family background for himself in stories he writes for the school magazine, and watches in silence while his rival (a scholarship boy who nevertheless commands the respect of his peers) is unfairly expelled for smoking.

Also in this week’s TLS, via Chicha, “The odds against Hamlet.”

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