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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
The Barracks Thief by Tobias Wolff 
7th-Sep-2006 11:59 pm
One of those, "Oh, why not?" reads. ^_^;

Wolff, Tobias. The Barracks Thief. 1984. New York: Ecco, 2005.
Summary: Three new recruits are ordered to guard an munitions dump that ends up being threatened by a forest fire, but what should unite them fails as one of the trio, insecure about his masculinity, starts stealing money to visit a prostitute. Ultimately, he is caught and goes crazy when he realizes the friendship he could have had with one of the victims of his theft.
Comments: This is a deceptively simple short novel--so simple, in fact, that it is almost TOO ambiguous at times. Oddly, the shifting, non-chronological narrative perspectives and the usage of multiple voices (third and first person) do not obscure much of anything, and the prose is for the most part written in short, declarative, Hemingway-esque sentences. Given that the author is most famous for his gay coming-of-age memoir, This Boy's Life, I"m tempted to give the story a gay reading; Lewis is the self-hating and ultimately self-destructive closeted homosexual, and his victim Hubbard is the gentle, effeminate (and most likely gay), self-accepting one. Had he acknowledged his passions, he wouldn't have ended in tragedy. In other words, the closet is downright dangerous and unhealthy for the self and everyone else. In fact, only Philip, the character with whom the story starts (and whose runaway brother might also be gay), ever succeeds in the long run at fitting in and "making good" in the stereotypical way. Still, you don't necessarily have to do the gay lit reading--one could also easily read this novel as a subtle critique of violent, womanizing masculinity and of war. Not that the two interpretations are mutually exclusive, or anything...Wolff succeeds better than many white gay writers at rolling particular subcultural prerogatives into universal human concerns.
Notes: trade paperback, 4th printing
Rating: 7/10 - Wolff obviously labors over his prose extensively at the sentence level. Finely-crafted and well worth reading.
9th-Sep-2006 11:18 am (UTC)
Did this one duplicate? Different string, just a thought ^_^
9th-Sep-2006 11:20 am (UTC)
Comment back. It's only the reply to comments that are being duplicated; replies to entries (and when did it stop being "post" anyway?) are not. :P
9th-Sep-2006 11:25 am (UTC)
Okay, how about now? ^_^
9th-Sep-2006 11:31 am (UTC)
Yep. ^^;;;;
9th-Sep-2006 11:40 am (UTC)
>_< Oh well... Gotta get someone else to comment to see if it's with everyone ^^
9th-Sep-2006 11:41 am (UTC)
You can be "Doktor X" AND "Y"! XD
9th-Sep-2006 12:11 pm (UTC)
Wait, which one is the female chromosome? ^_^;
9th-Sep-2006 12:54 pm (UTC)
I dunno. Which is more feminine--.txt or .html? :P
9th-Sep-2006 01:03 pm (UTC)
I'd say .html is more feminine, more pretty and colorful, while .txt is the equivalent of a plain white shirt ^_^;
9th-Sep-2006 03:37 pm (UTC)
If that's true, then I, who like .txt is male-inclined, and you, who like .html is female-inclined. Uh-oh... :P
9th-Sep-2006 03:59 pm (UTC)

All part of the pattern ^_^;;
9th-Sep-2006 10:12 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I think you're actually trying... :P
9th-Sep-2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
Or maybe you are ^_~
9th-Sep-2006 10:17 pm (UTC)
No way. If anything, I answer all those quizzes you and Ariss are so addicted to conservatively. :P
9th-Sep-2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
You mean, you’re really more manly? ^__^

Of course, not only do I always score female while Ariss scores male, but she wears a men’s watch, while I wear a women’s one ^^;;
9th-Sep-2006 11:42 pm (UTC)
And I don't wear ANY watch. :P But, back when I did, I always wore a thin, delicate, woman's style. I don't look good in bulky jewelry AT ALL.

In general, the styles of clothing I wear are very feminine, but my personal habits are probably more male (libertine) in that I don't wear makeup or style my hair or often shave. ^^;
9th-Sep-2006 11:54 pm (UTC)
I have fine graceful (skinny) wrists, so if I wear a men’s watch I end up looking like a little kid wearing his daddy’s watch ^_^;;

I’m not sure which is worse, the fact that you don’t shave often, or the fact that I do (or at least trim close) ^^;; Well, at least I don’t wear makeup ^_^
10th-Sep-2006 12:13 am (UTC)
Most watch bands (and bracelets in general) are much too big for me, anyway. Stuff is always falling off. In fact, my hands are so small that I could probably slip them out of handcuffs, as long as they weren't so tight they were actually cutting into my wrists.

I’m not sure which is worse, the fact that you don’t shave often, or the fact that I do

*shrugs* I'm not as hairy as some women, anyway.
10th-Sep-2006 12:35 am (UTC)
So, they’d have to use children’s size handcuffs on you? ^_^;;

I'm not as hairy as some women, anyway.

Heh, me neither ^^

Not only do I wear a women’s watch, but when I got it I had to bring it to the jeweler and have a bunch of links removed, it just couldn’t be adjusted tight enough as it came ^^;;
10th-Sep-2006 02:48 am (UTC)
Is there a such thing as child-sized handcuffs? Why do I doubt it? :P

I'm way too cheap to have jewelry adjusted. I just do without. ^_^;
1st-Oct-2006 03:27 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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