The Farewell Symphony Paperback – Sep 1 1998
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
White rounds out the trilogy on gay life begun with A Boy's Own Story and The Beautiful Room Is Empty.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
In White's novel, we are taken on a tour of the protagonist's (White himself) 30's, 40's, and 50's as he climbs from unknown author to celebrated chronicler of gay life. Along the way, White bares his soul through his no-holds-barred sexual confessions, as we see him interract with friends, lovers, and back-alley liaisons.
Beginning post-Stonewall, and culminating in the AIDS crisis we witness White in many scenarios: best friend, object of desire, live-in lover, and even surrogate parent. White envelops each role with his particularly magical brand of prose, sentiment, and bravado, that is sometimes shocking, sometimes sad, but always entertaining.
As the novel carries on, and reaches the now 20 year old beginning of the AIDS epidemic, we see the significance and poignancy of the title, as the disease ravages the ranks of White's friends, and leaves him the one violinist remaining to chronicle their lives, as they intertwined with his own.
From backrooms to bedrooms, from parking lots to Paris, with stops in New York, Venice, and Morrocco along the way, White delivers another triumph in chronicling his life, and what began as A Boy's Own Story becomes the life of a man.
I have never been a person who liked to read books with an autobiographical point of view; but I am glad I have dared to look beyond my prejudices and go for it.
Nice words, beautifully written, Edmund White is a real craftsman. (Based solely on this novel, because he lost some magic when I read A Boys story).
A very helpfull and insightfull book. How did gay men live in the 50's up till the 80's... Really beautiful!
I spread the word about the book among almost all of my friends and even the heterosexual people really liked it. I think it's not only a gay-tale, but it's a tale about loving people, wheter they are male, female... whatever, it doesn't matter, because the one thing you can read between all the lines is that the writer must have really loved the people he wrote about.
Within a few weeks he'll be coming to the Netherlands for a presentation, most definitely I am one of the people being there and hanging on to every word he tells.
The Unfinished Symphony sees a change in style from the other two novels. With clearer prose and less imagery than the previous two it at times loses some of the beauty of its predeccesors. Having said that this novel is more raw and grittier, more physical and forceful and as a result invokes a whole different range of sensory images than the first instalments.
In certain sections of the novel, the descriptive narrative tends to border on the mundane and dull but when White taps into the emotions of family and death the novel soars and speaks to you both as a human being and as a gay man. The recounting of the relationship with his sister and the illness of his mother is written from the heart and speaks a universal language. The emotional desolation wrought by the deaths of many friends to AIDS leaves the reader drained but feeling extremely human. The emotive passages as the novel nears completion make up for any over descriptive and dull passages earlier on.
I have referred to this book as a flawed masterpiece. Flawed, in my opinion, as a result of the decreased use of the imagery and senses used in the prior books. A masterpiece due to its rawness, its honesty and its ability to hurt, to make us ache and to make us feel human.
Most recent customer reviews
I picked up this book in my local bookshop as it was being sold off half price. I'd never read Edmund White before, never even heard of him, so it's purely by chance that I'm... Read morePublished on April 20 2001
This is the final volume of the trilogy that includes A Boy's Own Story and The Beautiful Room Is Empty. Read morePublished on Dec 17 1999 by mholesh
This is one of the finest books ever written - and I have read a lot of books. Not for those of a moralising or piously nervous disposition, or for those with a tragically short... Read morePublished on Sept. 27 1999
I hope people fallow White's thoughts about the gay world, I like him because he can explain the reality and the real in gay mind.Published on Sept. 26 1999
This "autobiographical" book by Edmund White ultimately does nothing but reinforce negative gay stereotypes - that youth, beauty, being thin and well-endowed are all that... Read morePublished on Aug. 6 1999
I'm always intrugued by White's work and his singular ability to capture not only his stories but mine and those of many other gay men. Read morePublished on May 18 1999 by Michael Nicola
Though I've enjoyed some of White's other books, I couldn't finish this one. It was too boring, too academic, and though I'm a francophile, too *french* (he's neutered the english... Read morePublished on Jan. 8 1999 by Amazon Customer
This book is difficult to read (and review) in that it is over 400 pages long, and is filled with graphic sexual detail, and the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Read morePublished on Nov. 4 1998