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The Farewell Symphony (1997)

por Edmund White

Séries: A Boy's Own Story (3)

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594440,112 (3.94)9
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.… (mais)
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We continue the autobiography of an unknown protagonist (okay, okay! It's White). By now he is a full fledged adult and it is the early 1960s. Whereas the other books in the trilogy spanned a short period of time, Farewell Symphony is much longer and covers nearly thirty years, ending in the early 1990s. By the end of The Farewell Symphony Mr. Nameless has outlived most of his friends. AIDS has infiltrated his love life. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let us start at the beginning. Brice, a former lover, died six months before the story opens. From there, the author experiences a string of sexual encounters barely qualifying as relationships: the heartbreak over Sean, a man who was unobtainable. Lou and Kevin. Fox. I could go on. For the most part, Farewell Symphony seems to be a running commentary on sex within the homosexual community. The nameless protagonist prowls for hookups, threesomes, and orgies all fueled by an insatiable desperation to not go lonely. When he isn't trying to get laid, he desires to be published. The most poignant and sorrowful portion of The Farewell Symphony is the bitter end. True to the title of the book, the symphony of gay men die off, one by one, leaving one voice to take a final bow. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Aug 28, 2023 |
Became tedious and narcissistic. ( )
  brentcnall | Jan 22, 2010 |
I truly love White's novels and this is one of his best. ( )
  latinobookgeek | Sep 13, 2007 |
I believe one of White's best. The book details the life of a Gay man in New York in the 1970s and his flight to Paris as the AIDS epidemic begins. Edmund 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. ( )
  latinobookgeek | Mar 10, 2007 |
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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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