The Folded Leaf

The Folded Leaf In Chicago in the s two boys initiate an unusual friendship Lymie Peters a skinny and somewhat clumsy boy who always gets good grades and newcomer Spud Latham a star athlete and mediocre stude

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  • Title: The Folded Leaf
  • Author: William Maxwell
  • ISBN: 9780879233518
  • Page: 300
  • Format: Paperback
  • In Chicago in the 1920s, two boys initiate an unusual friendship Lymie Peters, a skinny and somewhat clumsy boy who always gets good grades, and newcomer Spud Latham, a star athlete and mediocre student Spud accepts Lymie s devotion without questioning it, but once high school ends and the boys enter college, tensions begin to arise between them Lymie is the first to meIn Chicago in the 1920s, two boys initiate an unusual friendship Lymie Peters, a skinny and somewhat clumsy boy who always gets good grades, and newcomer Spud Latham, a star athlete and mediocre student Spud accepts Lymie s devotion without questioning it, but once high school ends and the boys enter college, tensions begin to arise between them Lymie is the first to meet Sally Forbes, but she will fall in love with Spud, and this will mark the beginning of the rift between them But this rupture will be than Lymie can bear William Maxwell provides the reader with a moving portrayal of adolescence and the shift from youth into adulthood.

    One thought on “The Folded Leaf”

    1. 4 and 1/2 starsThis novel is both extraordinary and ordinary: extraordinary in its prose, and its insights into the mind and behavior of two ordinary boys, their families, other friends and even teachers and university administrators. It has a lot to say about the impact of the early death of a mother and of a distant father on a boy, even during a time when that distance must've been viewed as ordinary.The outline of the plot is ordinary, the intense friendship between two opposites inevitably [...]

    2. One can see the coming perfection of "Time Will Darken It" (1948) all over William Maxwell's 1945 novel. I first read this 15-20 years ago, and liked it enough to later read "Time" and love it. But a 2010 revisit to "The Folded Leaf" revealed qualities I seemed not to have fully appreciated earlier. Perhaps I wasn't completely ready for its simplicity and beauty then; maybe I'm wiser.But, wisdom: Maxwell was one of the wisest, purest, sparest writers around, weaving his simple, ordinary plots wi [...]

    3. The Folded Leaf was written in 1945. Maxwell said it was his favorite novel for "personal reasons - the whole of my youth is in it". Set in the 1920s in Chicago, the story centered on the unlikely friendship between two adolescent males: Lymie Peters and Spud Latham. It depicted a true-to-life picture of life on an American university campus that came with horrific initiation parties, the facetious pomposity of being a member of a Fraternity or Sorority, drills of lectures, and after-class cafe [...]

    4. If this 1945 novel were published today it would be marketed as YA. Two fifteen year old boys, one solidly middle class, athletic, and good looking (Spud), the other lower middle class, half-orphaned, small, skinny, and ridiculously unathletic (Lymie), become best friends on the north side of Chicago in the 1920s. We're given vignettes of their daily lives at school, in sports activities, in their respective apartments with their families, such as they are. Lymie lives with his heavy-drinking sa [...]

    5. I came to this with some reservations - a gay novel written in the 40's about a relationship in 1920's Chicago ran the risk of being irrelevant, coy, and too tragic for a post gay rights reader. I was pleasantly surprised. Maxwell writes simply with a slightly wry tone. It's obvious this was written in a time when the "love that could not be named - couldn't be written about in a novel. It's equally obvious that Maxwell didn't want to write one of those books wading in queer subtext - so he wrot [...]

    6. This novel, written in 1945, explores in sensitive and subtle details the love of two boys as they become young men, and is probably as direct a novel that could be written on that subject at the time, maybe even now. I am not generally a fan of the "pained adolescence" novel, having had several of them forced on me in junior high and high school. Maxwell's gorgeous, patient prose, by contrast, achieves the admirable task of placing the reader in the minds and milieus of these young men, without [...]

    7. Amazing book. Beautifully written. Maxwell describes the Latham apartment in paragraph after paragraph, which might turn boring in the hands of a lesser writer. But the description was lovely in and of itself, and also let me see who these people were, without Maxwell having to directly state it. Complicated, real characters and believable dialogue. I will remember these people for a long time.

    8. fiction doesn't get much better. some unexpected turning points, a great campus novel, and a very gentle, soft yet simmering tone

    9. I didn't expect to like this and it got off to a slow start, but in the end it was worthwhile. Tale of two young men and a young woman who wind up in a love triangle. Given the date this was written, there is no sexual component, but one of desire, longing, and trying to live the life society wants you to live. Billed as one of the earliest gay novels (one young man desires the other), it is tame by today's standards, but I appreciated the prose and the story.

    10. I found this book when I was in college and enjoyed it very much, both for the story and the writing style. The Folded Leaf is the serenely observed yet deeply moving story of two boys finding one another in the Midwest of the 1920s, when childhood lasted longer than it does today and even adults were more innocent of what life could bring. The story tells of Lymie and Spud, two young boys who share a strong friendship, even though they seem utterly different. The novel is told primarily from th [...]

    11. 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, [...]

    12. The reviewer on the back of the book described Maxwell's tone in this novel as 'anthropological.' I disagree. While it did seem somewhat detached--it felt detached in a "masculine" way--meaning in the way (particularly in the time the novel was set and written) men are expected to not express their emotions directly (this tendency being embodied, in particular, by Spud) rather than in a "scientific" or purely observational way. This detachment made the moments of poetry even more profound as wel [...]

    13. This book was published ages ago; it was one of the first " serious " novels I'd read about being young and gay. Made me feel a little bit better than before I'd read it. The gays have been around for a while, and this gives you an idea of what it might have been like in the 1920's. From the Publisher: Here is a classic novel from one of our most honored writers--the author of such acclaimed works as So Long, See You Tomorrow and All the Days and Nights. The Folded Leaf is the serenely observed [...]

    14. Just finished this and am fantasizing about being able to discuss it with my 2003 cohort at the University of Michigan, in a seminar or at the Heidelberg. Why it took me this long to read more Maxwell, I don't know. Maybe it's because I read _So Long, See you Tomorrow_ three times and kind of idealized it. _Folded Leaf_ didn't disappoint. The scenes in which volumes are left unsaid, the assumptions and misunderstandings, the tensions that are just barely or not relieved at all---it takes admirab [...]

    15. In a way, this was like visiting a foreign country: a boy's coming of age story set in the midwest in the early 20th century. Maxwell's writing is vivid and evocative. There were a few odd passages, sort of dream-like inserts, as if you were entering into the private thoughts of the character, muddled and inchoate and jejune. As the novel progresses, you feel the darkness building, creating a tension that Maxwell resolves with an unexpected gaiety. Quite a splendid novel and hard to imagine that [...]

    16. It's at the same time both easy AND very hard to write about this strange period of adolescence in a way by which I feel attracted. I have always had a particular fondness of stories such as the one presented here, however, often the tone & style make the different works of different authors too easily interchangeable to stand out as remarkable pieces. Maxwell's narration certainly achieves that (for me). I loved it when he leaves the close-up perspective of the characters, and draws general [...]

    17. "'s deprivation that makes people writers, if they have it in them to be a writer," Maxwell said in an interview for the Paris Review. The Folded Leaf is more of an autumnal ache hinting at Maxwell's own 'real life' deprivations than a conventional novel. I love when he goes off into lofty, philosophical tangents in his writing. A favorite quote from this book: "In solitude only can we attune ourselves to the meaning of nature and the deep heart of man."

    18. Maxwell is a fine writer, one of the best I've read. So confident, so assured. Of an entirely different world than contemporary novelists, many of whom, even if they write beautifully, seem to suffer from a kind of tentativeness. This novel is particularly compelling.

    19. Sometimes moving, sometimes meandering, this story of the intense friendship between two Chicago boys is worth reading. I liked the boyhood chapters more than the college part. Something of the atmosphere was lost in the later chapters.

    20. 4.5 stars for lyricism, beauty and truth. The perfect novel. Almost. If it had ended, say, at the end of chapter 59. Instead, it goes on for three additional chapters, which deliver just what Maxwell, at the end of chapter 52, charges not very good writers with ramming down our throats:‘They all have a way of using stock lines, cluttering up and even running the risk of spoiling their best climaxes with some cliche’ half a century out of date.’ Speak of self-fulfilling prophecies!I just ca [...]

    21. He's so insightful and humorous. Only read two of Maxwell's books but he is one of my favourites already.

    22. 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 [...]

    23. One of the finest novels in existence, this book is a pleasure to read, or in this case, read again many times over. The prose, almost a poem, elevates the story of Spud and Lymie to an epic more befitting the Greeks than two Midwestern boys growing into men. It is their dynamics and interactions (or more aptly, their unsaid feelings and small gestures that belie profound affections) that are the story. More is left unsaid than said, but what is said becomes one of the most profound love stories [...]

    24. At its heart William Maxwell’s “The Folded Leaf” is a story of how the childhood loss of a parent can affect the emotional growth of that child as he grows into adolescence and adulthood. Set in Illinois before WWII, “Leaf” follows the life of Lymie Peters, a boy who lost his mother early and is being raised by an often absent salesman father who brings home the occasional younger woman for “parties.” In high school Lymie’s life is literally and figuratively saved by “Spud” L [...]

    25. What I learned: Love hurts, especially when you love both a boy and a girl.The narration of William Maxwell's third novel, set in prohibition-era Chicago and the University of Illinois, is distant, almost cool. Maxwell moves freely between characters, observing their outward and inner states. The story, however, centers on two characters, Lymie and Spud, one feeble but bright, the other a boxer, violent and beautiful. The choice to tell this story at a significant distance seems right, not only [...]

    26. Set in Chicago in the 1920s, The Folded Leaf tells the story of an intense friendship between two boys, Lymie Peters and Spud Latham. If I tell you that the boys are opposites--Lymie studious and gangly, Spud possessed of all the popularity and physical beauty that Lymie knows he will never have--and if I tell you that the novel follows them to college, where they live together in a boarding house until Spud falls in love with a girl and joins a fraternity--if I tell you all of this, you may ima [...]

    27. For the most part this book bored me. The plot mainly revolves around "Spud" Latham and Lymie Peters and their strange relationship, which oscillates and shifts between average friendship, master-servant, and ambiguous love. A girl named Sally is introduced half way through the book, but despite the fact that she is often presented as the third point of a triangle the narrative is really centered on the two boys. Didn't find the story particularly compelling, brought to mind a soap opera set in [...]

    28. There are parts that are painfully slow and the point of view is all over the place. It has the melodrama of an after school special at times. The gay content is there, although most of it is buried deep in the subtext. The story hinges on the relationship between friends Spud and Lymie--and there is genuine affection between the two, which rarely gets physical--and never gets sexual. We're supposed to read Lymie's big action as a cry for hep and one that suggests his love for Spud drove him to [...]

    29. Second time to read this, and I'm still impressed at how overt the homosexuality is for a book published in 1943 (though the flowery language used to describe one of the characters getting a boner, without actually saying that, is pretty great - at least I think the author was talking about a boner). Also, for a self-identified heterosexual man of that period to write so tenderly and intuitively about a non-sexual but incredibly intimate and sensual relationship between two young men is pretty a [...]

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