The January Online Book Choice Is:

The Folded Leaf by William Maxwell

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William Maxwell, long-time editor at the New Yorker, wrote part time and did it well. He won numerous awards for his writing.

The Folded Leaf follows Lymie and Spud as they grow into men. Maxwell said, ‘the whole of my youth is in (The Folded Leaf).’ It is a nice account of the pain of growing up, the monotony of school, and the grating nature of living with one’s parents.

Maxwell’s concise language hits all the right notes and he places strategic little maxims throughout the book. Here is one:
‘to live in the world at all is to be committed to some kind of a journey’
and another:
‘It is always disturbing to pick up an acquaintance after several years. The person is bound to have changed, so that (in one way or another) you will have to deal with a stranger.’

and another great passage, in reference to the small talk that occurs at a cocktail party:
‘Everyone knew everyone else and it was a good deal like progressive whist, or some game like that, since it involved a frequent change of partners. You went to any group you felt like talking to. They opened automatically and amiably, and there you were, allowed to pick up the threads of the old conversation or start a new one.’

William Maxwell died in 2000.

link here to interview that includes Maxwell’s quote

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