The works of Thomas Wolfe cemented his legacy as one of the very best of the American Southern writers. Wolfe's largely autobiographical novel features Eugene Gant, who pines for a more expansive life after being born to a father whose bouts of maniacal raving are fueled by a prodigious appetite for drink.
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My purpose in writing this review is to provide a balance. It would be unfortunate if someone in the new Century, coming upon Thomas Wolfe for the first time, and unaware that they held within their hands one of the masterworks of the Twentieth Century, were deterred, and thus denied themselves a significant reading pleasure. If in reading it some 80 years after Wolfe wrote it, you feel it is too wordy, has too much description, or could have been edited more, remember this: Wolfe was in his mid twenties when he wrote it. Max Perkins, who is universally acknowledged as the greatest Editor of the Twentieth Century (he discovered/first published Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings etc.) was his Editor. Perkins, after much struggle, got him to cut 90,000 words from the original manuscript.
If you love the language; if you value wordcraft and the evocation of imagery in a sublime form; if you appreciate Steinbeck, Pat Conroy, Waltari and Shirley Haggard for these reasons, if you are a writer or want to be; if you hunger for a book that has masterful characterisation that will imprint the characters indellibly on your mind, then listen to and enjoy "Look Homeward, Angel". You will then know the Gants and the Pentlands like your own family and you will know why, as someone who averages reading / listening to 137 books per year (over 1200 since January 2000), I count this as one of my ten favourites, and why is has been for over 35 years. In addition, Scott Sowers has done a Masterful job of narration. It is worth the credit!
I saw that this book was one of Pat Conroy's favorites, and since he is my favorite author and I need to read some classics, I listened to this one. Thomas Wolfe's language is amazing and I see why they study this in school. Wow.