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This Boy's Life (1989)

av Tobias Wolff

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2,936464,740 (3.9)123
Biography & Autobiography. Nonfiction. HTML:

First published in 1989, this memoir has become a classic in the genre. With this book, Wolff essentially launched the memoir craze that has been going strong ever since. It was made into a movie in 1993.

Fiction writer Tobias Wolff electrified critics with his scarifying 1989 memoir, which many deemed as notable for its artful structure and finely wrought prose as for the events it describes. The story is pretty grim: Teenaged Wolff moves with his divorced mother from Florida to Utah to Washington State to escape her violent boyfriend. When she remarries, Wolff finds himself in a bitter battle of wills with his abusive stepfather, a contest in which the two prove to be more evenly matched than might have been supposed. Deception, disguise, and illusion are the weapons the young man learns to employ as he grows up??not bad training for a writer-to-be. Somber though this tale of family strife is, it is also darkly funny and so artistically satisfying that listeners come away exhilarated.… (mer)

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» Se även 123 omnämnanden

engelska (44)  spanska (2)  Alla språk (46)
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Winner of the Pen Faulkner Award
  JimandMary69 | Feb 16, 2024 |
A second read, the first was more or less when it was published, thirty years ago. Tobias is ten and he and his mother are fleeing Florida and yet another of her bad relationships, headed for Utah; it is the early 50's. When she and Tobias's father split, each took one child. The other, Geoffrey Wolff is also a writer and among other things wrote about their father in The Duke of Deception- a handsome, brilliant, charismatic man who was unable, basically, to ever tell the truth. He tells the story of this six or so year period of his life in a series of connected stories in sections--each section focussed around a place and a situation and that are further divided into separate vignettes.

If possible the memoir was even more rewarding the second time around because my understanding of both the emotional difficult and the writing 'craft' that went into the creation goes so much deeper. Wolff achieves (what is more or less impossible) writing a memoir about that specific (and critical) period between pre- and late-adolescence not as a narrative but as a series of stories, dialogue and all, that is utterly convincing as a memoir. While it is written as if fiction, it feels and is, surely, the truth of that period of his life. Perhaps only his truth, but truth. One could discuss why this works for days or weeks. Wolff himself says in his preface: "I remember the past in terms of stories. That's how I think of it, how I talk about it, and how I've written it here." I've written plenty of stories that are based on my life experiences, but I deviate from the facts knowingly to shape the story the way I want it to go. Most of us can't help doing that, interfering with and remaking our past in that way. Here, Wolff ruthlessly re-imagines the past exactly as he remembers it, I say ruthlessly because he doesn't spare himself for one second. He is his father's son and lying and subterfuge come naturally to him, sometimes with (some) justification, sometimes not. Also he re-inhabits the mind of the boy he was, with no judgement from his adult self about the things he did (and didn't) do. Such as regret, yes, or even something like disbelief at his stupidity or naivete but never judgement. He was a kid, this is how I coped. The self-awareness that went into the work is blinding. ***** ( )
  sibylline | Oct 5, 2023 |
i really hate how this book talks about women. ( )
  femmedyke | Sep 27, 2023 |
En Vida de este chico, Tobias Wolff narra sus recuerdos de niño y adolescente, cuando, divorciados sus padres, recorría con su madre con la que formaba una auténtica «pareja telepática» las carreteras de Estados Unidos de un lado a otro del país. Toby o Jack, como le gusta llamarse a sí mismo en homenaje a su adorado Jack London absorberá entre mapas, whisky, peleas a puñetazos, amistades y traiciones, la esencia de esa América de los años cincuenta que marcará irremediablemente su juventud. Una juventud con toques minimalistas y dickensianos a un tiempo y que sirve aquí a su autor para trazar con humor y ternura el retrato de un tiempo pasado en el espejo de su propia imagen.
  Natt90 | Mar 24, 2023 |
The hundreds of reviews here say everything I'd like to say about this book so there's little I can add. This Boy's Life was recommended as a powerful example of a Memoir and it did not disappoint. Wolff's writing illustrates the power of the "show-don't-tell" principle. He's not having a long internal dialogue telling the reader what to think of his situation. Wolff's together with Mary have similar struggles and they are my favorites for memoir. Will look to read another of his.
( )
  kropferama | Jan 1, 2023 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Wolff, Tobiasprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Wyman, OliverBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat

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"The first duty in life is to assume a pose. What the second is, no one has yet discovered." -Oscar Wilde
"He who fears corruption fears life." -- Saul Alinsky
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My stepfather, Dwight, always said that what I didn't know could fill a book. Well, here it is.
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Our car boiled over again just after my mother and I crossed the Continental Divide.
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Biography & Autobiography. Nonfiction. HTML:

First published in 1989, this memoir has become a classic in the genre. With this book, Wolff essentially launched the memoir craze that has been going strong ever since. It was made into a movie in 1993.

Fiction writer Tobias Wolff electrified critics with his scarifying 1989 memoir, which many deemed as notable for its artful structure and finely wrought prose as for the events it describes. The story is pretty grim: Teenaged Wolff moves with his divorced mother from Florida to Utah to Washington State to escape her violent boyfriend. When she remarries, Wolff finds himself in a bitter battle of wills with his abusive stepfather, a contest in which the two prove to be more evenly matched than might have been supposed. Deception, disguise, and illusion are the weapons the young man learns to employ as he grows up??not bad training for a writer-to-be. Somber though this tale of family strife is, it is also darkly funny and so artistically satisfying that listeners come away exhilarated.

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