9780099768012

The Farewell Symphony

White, Edmund

ISBN 10: 0099768011 / 0-09-976801-1
ISBN 13: 9780099768012
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
Named after Haydn's work, in which the players leave the stage one by one, this completes the story of a gay man in his adult years, through Stonewall riots, the hedonism of the 70s and the ravages of AIDS in the 80s and 90s. It follows "A Boy's Own Story" and "The Beautiful Room is Empty".

Review:
Edmund White has long been praised as one of America's most accomplished novelists. The Farewell Symphony is the final volume in the autobiographical trilogy that began with A Boy's Own Story and The Beautiful Room Is Empty. It details the narrator's life in New York in the 1970s and his flight to Paris as the AIDS epidemic begins. White's prose, at once lucid and magical, is the essence of great writing. Its plainspoken cadences and language resonate with the tragedy of youthful passion giving way to hard-earned knowledge. Like Sherwood Anderson or Theodore Dreiser, White has captured the soul of the American experience--in this case a gay male experience--and made it into art.

Review

Review:
Following A Boy's Own Story (now a classic of American fiction) and his richly acclaimed The Beautiful Room Is Empty, here is the eagerly awaited final volume of Edmund White's groundbreaking autobiographical trilogy.
    


Named for the work by Haydn in which the instrumentalists leave the stage one after another until only a single violin remains playing, this is the story of a man who has outlived most of his friends. Having reached the six-month anniversary of his lover's death, he embarks on a journey of remembrance that will recount his struggle to become a writer and his discovery of what it means to be a gay man. His witty, conversational narrative transports us from the 1960s to the near present, from starkly erotic scenes in the back rooms of New York clubs to episodes of rarefied hilarity in the salons of Paris to moments of family truth in the American Midwest. Along the way, a breathtaking variety of personal connections--and near misses--slowly builds an awareness of the transformative power of genuine friendship, of love and loss, culminating in an indelible experience with a dying man. And as the flow of memory carries us across time, space and society, one man's magnificently realized story grows to encompass an entire generation.
    


Sublimely funny yet elegiac, full of unsparingly trenchant social observation yet infused with wisdom and a deeply felt compassion, The Farewell Symphony is a triumph of reflection and expressive elegance. It is also a stunning and wholly original panorama of gay life over the past thirty years--the crowning achievement of one of our finest writers.

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