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The Folded Leaf Paperback – 1 Mar 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (1 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099573598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099573593
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"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.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
Exquisitely written account of friendship, love and shyness.
Lymie is an intelligent but puny kid, ever excluded by the others. When he becomes friends with tough new boy Spud, a kid who fits in with the rest, the relationship becomes intense- on Lymie's side at least- but unspoken issues arise between the two at college...
This part was so beautifully written; a lesser author might have broken up the friendship with an argument, but Lymie continues to hang around Spud -who allows him to while barely acknowledging him, in a heartbreaking episode.
The reader totally understands the kind of guy Lymie is to the rest of the world:
'The boys in the fraternity were friendly toward Lymie and accepted him, but as an outsider, a foreigner with all the proper credentials. Their attitude was a good enough indication of what he could accept socially, the rest of his life. If he had been the kind of person who mixes easily and makes a good first impression, he wouldn't have walked past the plate glass window of LeClerc's pastry shop, years before when he was in high school.'
Beautiful, heart-rending, showing a total understanding of human interaction.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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