The agency of revelation is the school literary contest, whose winner will be awarded an audience with the most legendary writer of his time. As the fever of competition infects the boy and his classmates, fraying alliances, exposing weaknesses, Old School explores the ensuing deceptions and betrayals with an unblinking eye and a bottomless store of empathy. The result is further evidence that Wolff is an authentic American master.
After a 23-year career, during which he published numerous acclaimed short story collections and a pair of memoirs, Wolff now turns his hand to a novel about life at a New England prep school in the 1960s. The narrator, an unnamed boy, is one of many literature-lovers at the institution who is eager to prove himself in a string of upcoming writing competitions to be judged by a group of visiting authors. Struggling with a story that will be read by Ernest Hemingway, the boyanxious to impressappropriates an idea for his narrative's plotline and ends up disclosing a secret about his identity that he had painstakingly concealed from his fellow students. The consequences are devastating. This classic coming-of-age novel offers unique perspectives on the demands of the writing process. A reading group guide is available at www.readinggroupcenter.com.