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The Folded Leaf

The Folded Leaf [Kindle Edition]

William Maxwell
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Description


So fresh is Maxwell's wisdom on adolescent insecurities, hesitancies and blind worship that it is hard to imagine that his words are more than half a century old (Sunday Times )

A true, beautiful and profoundly poignant novel. It is so good it almost seems miraculous (New York Times )

A novel of major quality, the fruit of real engagement with other people and the course of their lives (Independent on Sunday )

Few novels have charted the end of boyhood and the coming of adult wisdom as subtly and humanely as Maxwell in this profound, atmospheric work which is as moving as it is shrewd and often funny (Irish Times )

Book Description

Maxwell is the unsung hero of American literature. This is a beautifully observed and moving novel about growing up.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 434 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0679772561
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (14 Dec 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004FV4XU8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #154,514 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coded and touching 1 Jun 2009
By Erastes
This book was published in 1945, so it's particularly "coded" in such a way that it can be read without some people noticing the homosexual sub-text. I think perhaps that if the ending had been more upbeat in the way The Charioteer had been written then it would be as popular as that book because it's certainly written as beautifully and to read it is to truly immerse yourself in the high school and university life of 1920's America with the coon skin coats, letterman sweaters and the heady importance of who you knew against what you knew.

I think I'd have to disagree with the blurb, though. I didn't see any indication that Lymie was attracted to Sally at any point. They liked each other extremely well, but it is Spud's misinterpretation of Lymie's friendship with her that causes the conflict, not any realistic attraction at all.

Are Lymie and Spud homosexual? I think possibly, yes. I would say that Spud shows bisexual tendencies and Lymie homosexual. In today's frat houses I think that they would--as they are sleeping together in The Folded Leaf, and always sleep touching in a sweet innocent fashion--take their relationship to another level. I got the impression from the story that neither boy ever had any suspicions as to what their deep feelings really meant. Even when Lymie longs to touch Spud, I felt it was more of an adoration of a body of a type that he could never hope to have, for he himself is an entirely different body shape, rather than any sexual desire.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read.
Such is the quality of writing, that some part of it will have resonance for everyone. The story is engaging and rewarding to read, the writing is intelligent and elegant.
Maxwell can capture the subtleties of both verbal and non verbal communication and convey them with startling accuracy. His ability to identify the fragile and unredeemed features of human existence is both powerfull and moveing.
Every boy & man should read this book, it will leave them richer than it found them.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Folded Leaf 3 Jan 2008
William Maxwell writes in the small spaces. He explores the little sad areas of our lives that are comprised of looks that are not returned, thoughts that remain unuttered because we simply cannot figure out how to say them, and embraces we wish we have shared but did not because we lack the courage to put our arms around the person we love. The Folded Leaf is a beautiful, melancholy story by an author whose understated value has sadly caused a lack of popular appreciation compared to his flashier contemporaries - Hemingway, Nabokov, Bellow, Updike, Roth.

The Folded Leaf is the story of Lymie and Spud, two young boys who share a strong friendship, even though they seem utterly different. The novel is told primarily from the perspective of Lymie, a shy, withdrawn, introverted and very sensitive young man who loves Spud with all of his heart. Spud, on the other hand, is something of a strong man, an athlete who does not understand, but is able to appreciate, the sensitivity of his friend. They compliment one another, with Lymie taking security from Spud's strength while Spud draws another kind of strength from his friend.

The two boys love one another, with Lymie's love much the stronger, but the love remains platonic. It is the casual, affectionate, innocently physical love of young boys who become college men understanding that there is nobody else in the world more compatible with them than the other. A girl, of course, shatters this, but even though Spud may lose that first blush of pre-sexual affection, Lymie does not. The novel moves very slowly from the boys' strong relationship to a rather one-sided, heartbreaking examination of what happens when one friend moves on and the other cannot.

Is the story a homosexual one? It is hard to say.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story of friendship 11 Mar 2013
By Benjamin TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lymie Peters is a thin, intelligent, solitary boy useless at sports; Spud Latham is a natural sportsman, lithe, perfectly proportioned and muscular, a natural fighter who loves boxing, but not so good in the classroom. That the two become such close friends makes an unlikely combination, but Lymie is devoted to Spud, and Spud sees his role as protector of the weaker boy.

They remain close throughout their school years and as they move away from home to attend the same college. They room together, and become close to two girls, but trouble lies ahead as misunderstanding and jealousy take their toll, eventually leading Lymie to desperate steps.

This is a most engaging novel. Set in the 1920s it captures much of the period with detailed descriptions of place and fashion. The friendship between Lymie and Spud is beautiful if at times uneven, and while nothing is suggested one might read much more into it. Beautifully written, it holds ones attention throughout to its ultimately positive conclusion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A brilliant and moving story. Wonderful ending!
Published 5 days ago by Ian D
4.0 out of 5 stars Original well written novel
An interesting book, original and easy to read. If it was written today by a modern author it would probably have been ruined by explicit sex, whereas the subtlety of the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Janie in Suffolk
5.0 out of 5 stars Who is this man!
It's rare indeed that I come across a 'new' author. I loved this novel - the content and the style. Especially the style. Read more
Published 5 months ago by DBT
4.0 out of 5 stars Read for Uni
I was assigned this book in one of my uni modules and found that I really enjoyed it. It was one of those stories that I didn't want to end and I found that I became attached to... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Andrew Banks
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story of friendship
Lymie Peters is a thin, intelligent, solitary boy useless at sports; Spud Latham is a natural sportsman, lithe, perfectly proportioned and muscular, a natural fighter who loves... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Benjamin
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Not a book I would have chosen myself, Chosen by the book club I'm a member of. Thoroughly enjoyed it
Published 22 months ago by Cheryl Briggs
5.0 out of 5 stars 'a beautifully observed rite of passage, as much about growing up as...
Exquisitely written account of friendship, love and shyness.
Lymie is an intelligent but puny kid, ever excluded by the others. Read more
Published on 26 July 2012 by sally tarbox
5.0 out of 5 stars la hoja plegada
Un libro conmovedor sobre la amistad entre dos adolescentes y su dolorosa ruptura. Sin duda alguna Maxwell es un maestro de la literatura americana del siglo XX y, tal como se ha... Read more
Published on 10 Feb 2011 by Rinconete
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking
I almost floundered and abandoned this book and I'm so glad I didn't. I couldn't see where the book was going at first but I did persevere and was rewarded with one of the most... Read more
Published on 12 Feb 2001
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