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REVIEWS - BOOKS

Title:
The Folded Leaf
Author(s):
William Maxwell
El-Camel's Ratings:

Publisher:
Vintage books
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Reviewer:
Owen Adams

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A heartbreaking tale of friendship and love. Inevitably, the love of a woman comes between two friends and the coral reef of college / maturity scrapes their cold feet but only the wimp hero bleeds. Bleeding hearts will love it, former New Yorker editor Maxwell hones his prose down and down and with this book comes a galaxy of plaudits from those probably securing regular reviewing gigs at said magazine. But I'm being churlish, seriously folks this guy can write! Immaculate could be the word - so effortless in his crafty styling - probably been perfecting and profiling for years... Mister school teacher, metropolitan preacher and house confidante of that pleasure palace known to you - ladies and gentlemen - as The New Yorker!

Folded Leaf centres on geeky brainy kid Lymie and his bond with Spud, the college boy jock good at sports and a real whizz with the ladies. A couple of wise-crack, shared jokes later we get the friendship bond, then the drift and the drift apart with graduation pending... You learn about their families and lives, all movingly rendered, simple.

Maxwell beautifully captures a time when hearts were pure and ambition realisable, when boys could be friends in that intimate sense without a daytime talk show needed to question validity. Precious then, and a gift. One of those unusual novels that details the much covered coming of age / rites of passage fields but without catching on the rye or the whisky rye of sentimentality. A book about boys and school and bullying that is original and true.


Oilzine Members Reviews
The Folded Leaf
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