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Look homeward angel

by henrycopeland
Thursday, October 11th, 2007

I just finished Look Homeward Angel. I originally picked up the book because several people had mentioned that it features a crazed itinerant real estate speculator. I loved its passion, rambling poetry, panoramas of Asheville and Chapel Hill, street scenes from 1910-1920, train-rides and lungers, and, most of all, for its many characters.

With its diet of quotidian family life-scenes, cameos of town characters, and recurrent musings about the passage of life and time, the book recalls Thornton Wilder’s Our Town; the connection grows undeniable when you hit the closing scene and find the main character conversing with his beloved, recently deceased brother, and then walking into the graveyard overlooking town to reflect on the difference between the living and dead.

I went to bed wondering, who borrowed from whom? Turns out Wilder wrote his book in the thirties after Wolfe’s book dominated the literary scene.

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