Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Monday, September 9, 2013

Book 218: The Party at Jack's

The Party at Jack's, Thomas Wolfe, University of North Carolina Press, 1995 (from a 1937 outline)

It is entirely possible for a book to be wonderfully-written and poorly-edited.  If you don't believe me, read this book.

It took me three days to read this 240-page novella.  I had to read some sentences, paragraphs, and even pages over a few times to gain clarity and understanding.  Repetition of phrases can be a useful device for emphasis or effect, however, if over-used, the effect becomes annoying.  I think the daughter's name was changed somewhere about a third of the way through the book, and then back again toward the end of the book, only for the daughter to disappear altogether by the close of the book.  The first few chapters, told from Mr. Jack's viewpoint, did not really fit with the rest of the book, told from Mrs. Jack's viewpoint.  It is fine to switch viewpoints, but I needed a bit of help to get from the fire to the return of Mr. Jack to his childhood home.

I can't fault Thomas Wolfe; first of all, because he IS Thomas Wolfe, but more importantly, he hadn't finished writing this book before he died.  So, while I am happy the The Party at Jack's has seen the light of day, I would have preferred that someone with a stronger ear for Thomas Wolfe had edited it.

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