Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tobias Wolff & In Pharaoh's Army: In the Works

I was all set to write about Tobias Wolff yesterday, but due to the discovery of blood clots in my broken leg, I had to go to the hospital emergency room. Never fear, the clots and I are home again, ensconced on my green couch, trying to see the humor in this situation. Nearly all book bloggers, I've noticed, never say anything about their health or lack of it, but this winter it has been impossible to keep blog-mum about these events. After all, they have had a profound impact on my reading life--for the better, in that single respect.

I'm three-quarters of the way through Wolff's memoir of his Vietnam military experience, In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. It was published in 1994, five years after his bestselling memoir, This Boy's Life. In Pharaoh's Army is loosely organized in a series of unconnected narratives, each one replete with Wolff's eye-opening descriptions, characterization, sense of the absurd, and an acute sense of the vulnerabilities of his late adolescent self mired in an incomprehensible world.

If you have never read Wolff, I urge you to try him. His most polished art form is the short story, of which he is a master. There are many collections of his stories available. Follow the link to lots of articles and New York Times book reviews of his work. Also, an NPR interview.

1 comment:

  1. Blood clots in your leg sound really scary Judith. Keep us updated on how you are!
    I haven't read anything by Tobias Wolff - yet.