This review of Tobias Wolff’s new novel, Old School, starts, oddly enough, with a mention of Wolff’s brother, Geoffrey.
In the sometimes collegial, sometimes cutthroat hothouse of graduate creative writing instruction in California, two brothers exert a remarkable degree of influence. Directing UC Irvine’s renowned master of fine arts program is Geoffrey Wolff, who has half a dozen novels and a recently published biography of “Appointment in Samarra” author John O’Hara to his name.
Kid brother Tobias serves as co-director of Stanford’s no-less-prestigious curriculum, and has published several story collections and two memoirs, but no novel since his first — 1975’s long-out-of-print “Ugly Rumours” — until now.
Then the reviewer comes to his senses and focuses on the book for the remainder of the article.