Right . . .
I just finished reading this book. It’s an incredibly rich, detailed work . . . you could spend a lifetime reading it over and over and still not appreciate every nuance.
The sense of pain and loss is intense. When the narrator’s brother died, I had to set the book down so my son wouldn’t see me weeping.
It’s also highly autobiographical, and a lot of people in Wolfe’s hometown of Asheville, N.C., were pretty unhappy about the way they were portrayed.
To give you an idea, here’s an excerpt from a letter Wolfe wrote to his sister Mabel shortly after the novel was published:
Apparently you can rob banks, be a crooked lawyer, swill corn whiskey, commit adultery with your neighbor’s wife — and be considered a fine, lovable, misunderstood fellow; but if you try to make something true and beautiful you are “viciously insane” and your “big overgrown body” ought to be dragged through the streets by a lynching mob.