Theophilus North A Novel Kindle ´ Theophilus North

Theophilus North A Novel Marking the thirtieth anniversary of Theophilus North this beautiful new edition features Wilder's unpublished notes for the novel and other illuminating documentary material all of which is included in a new Afterword by Tappan Wilder The last of Wilder's works published during his lifetime this novel is part autobiographical and part the imagined adventure of his twin brother who died at birth Setting out to see the world in the summer of 1926 Theophilus North gets as far as Newport Rhode Island before his car breaks down To support himself Theophilus takes jobs in the elegant mansions along Ocean Drive just as Wilder himself did in the same decade Soon the young man finds himself playing the roles of tutor spy confidant lover friend and enemy as he becomes entangled in the intrigues of both upstairs and downstairs in a glittering society dominated by leisure Narrated by the elderly North from a distance of fifty years Theophilus North is a fascinating commentary on youth and education from the vantage point of age and deftly displays Wilder's trademark wit juxtaposed with his lively and timeless ruminations on what really matters about life love and work at the end of the day even after a visit to Newport Wow this is a tough one to review It's a story of a twentysomething named Theophilus North He spends his summer in Newport and finds himself getting involved in the life of its inhabitants In a way it feels like a series of vignettes than a traditional novel Each chapter deals with Theophilus and a new cast of characters I really enjoyed most chapters; some were dull; some were confusing from start to finish It was definitely an interesting book It has made me curious to read Thornton Wilder that's for sure It dragged here and there and did feel a bit long but overall I enjoyed it I'm glad I read it Continuing our f2f discussion group's bookfilm season I suggested this title as I had enjoyed the movie Mr North which had been filmed in Rhode Island John Huston actually passed away here during filming and was replaced by Robert Mitchum Anyway I had never read the book nor anything by Wilder so I was blown away by how much I enjoyed this Talk about richness in language allusion insight into the human condition Theo has a way of understanding human nature that allows him to help the people he meets during his summer sojourn in Newport in the 1920s overcome their problems be they physical mental or social It was reminiscent of Chocolat in that way Upon re viewing the film I was disappointed in how simplistic and gimmicky it now seemed compared to the feast that was the book But the visuals of Newport were still fascinating for a Rhode Islander I feel like an old lady at a health resort reading about a really nice young man who is so sharp witted and gentle that one can almost imagine how handsome he isThe above is going to be expanded on and spoilers are going to be addedOn the whole it seems like a book about a self righteous piece of shit smart assing around town This guy is a teacher and went to college but he seems to have been alert to human condition and has learned how to be smooth to the point of actually helping mentally and socially challenged people He knows a gazillion European languages as well as some ancient ones and makes use of his knowledge as he gets his jobs in Newport reading aloud in tongues to rich people and instructing kids in lawn tennis The book is broken into chapters each of which presents a social psychological medical or other problem connected to a certain member of society the protagonist being summoned or feeling compelled to rescue the person in uestion from their predicament He constructs a plan involving subtle favours from characters who are thus introduced into the narrative or have been rescued by Mr North in other chapters The plan invariably succeeds leaving the chapter's pet and its milieu in tears of happiness and undying gratitude The idea behind this structure is to create a fragmentary image of the post WWI Newport as seen by a post WWII person as will be read by an old lady in the seventies The author makes a special fuss about his separating of the city into nine layers the way Schliemann is supposed to have discovered Troy and introduces references to the layers into the story probably to make us feel better what kind of behaviour is to be expected from the actors I could never keep up with these numerics Another point of special importance for the author is fulfilling his ambitions he presents in the first chapter; he lives up to them in that he is something like a detective in one chapter something like an archaeologist in the other and so onI will not dwell on the actual achievements of the guy The are impressive and largely incredible People connected to the person in distress may be compassionate or malevolent but they are always either severely impeded or very dull at least compared to the protagonistHe reminded me of Remarue's heroes men who are intellectually superior to everyone around them having even some nearly transcendental knowledge say expertise in Han dynasty ceramics and a long history of liberating suffering These heros are fun to learn from Mr North however is somewhat different He does not shrink from metaphysics At a certain point he indulges in healing through channeling of secret energies once he even makes it easy for an old woman to die something she says the Lord does not want to allow her for some reason and though he keeps saying he is an atheist and a fake and a fraud as a healer still his séance leaves him exhausted he an barely walk and falls asleep on the stairs or falls from his bike twice It is possibly his gentle humanism he uses to sort out every problem that he channels Maybe it is a metaphor I couldn't tell In general the book is full of contradictions North says he hates generalizations but you can find a generalization on almost every page Well conditioned women like to forgive when they are asked to is a good example of the level of generalizations he allows himselfHe is in love with a 14 year old girl who can blame him for that and without thinking twice he condescends to impregnating a shore widow whose husband is supposed to be infertile His paramours are actually the best part of the narrative He is very unscrupulous and what he cannot fuck he is supposed to have fucked before But obscenities should be kept out of the bookNobody talks as a living human being in the book A conversation is always an exchange of informationSorry I am sick of this book and my own review It was ok Probably my most favorite book It has a touch of magic and something we can all relate to the endless uest to figure out who we are and how we fit into the world around us

  • Hardcover
  • 479 pages
  • Theophilus North A Novel
  • Thornton Wilder
  • German
  • 22 August 2015

About the Author: Thornton Wilder

Thornton Niven Wilder was an American playwright and novelist He received three Pulitzer Prizes one for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and two for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth and a National Book Award for his novel The Eighth DayFor see

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