The Party at Jack's

Thomas Wolfe, Author, John L. Idol, Jr., Editor, Suzanne Stutman, Editor
Thomas Wolfe, Author, John L. Idol, Jr., Editor, Suzanne Stutman, Editor University of North Carolina Press $24.95 (242p) ISBN 978-0-8078-2206-7
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Paperback - 276 pages - 978-0-8078-4957-6
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Thomas Wolfe meets Tom Wolfe at last. Remember the Park Avenue penthouse party where the hoity-toity crowd gathered in The Bonfire of the Vanities? Here we're at that same party, without Tom W.'s humor--and without a story. Instead, Thomas W. gives us a cubistic painting of the building itself, from the penthouse to the subway trains beneath that tie the building to the whole U.S. economy, with portraits of the wealthy who inhabit the place, all rendered in prose of a density peculiar to this novella among his works. Those who loved Bonfire are likely to hate Jack's because of its literary daring, with entertainment a secondary consideration. Yet it is of note as the only example in all of Wolfe that shows his mastery of an experimental form he derived from Joyce. Written and revised during 1930-1936, this work first appeared in far shorter form in Scribner's monthly and in You Can't Go Home Again. Comparison with that novel shows that the present editors, both Wolfe scholars, have gone back to the original and presented him at his most expressive. (Apr.)
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