by Thomas Wolfe
Goodwood Theatre 166a Goodwood Road, Goodwood
November 16, 17, 22, 23, 24 @ 7.30, Matinees Sunday 18 @ 4.00; Saturday 24 @ 2.00, Early Tuesday 20, Wednesday 21 @ 6.30
North Carolina. 1916.
Eugene Gant is a moonstruck, sensitive boy, with a burning passion to escape his home town, and become a writer. Part of a large, rambling family, he lives in the “Dixieland” boarding house, run by his domineering mother, Eliza, who is obsessed with buying real estate, and seemingly more interested in her boarders than in her family. His father, the sculptor and monumental mason, W. O. Gant, is a blustering, frequently-drunk, dreamer and would-be tyrant. Of all his family, Eugene idolises his older brother, Ben, who continually urges the boy to escape. But Ben is too frail to live in the real world he longs for. When Ben dies, and Eugene’s affection for the Gants’ boarder, Laura James, is betrayed, Eugene’s world seems shattered. As he goes off to college, he can only hope to pick up the pieces, and make something of himself.
Considered one of the greatest American novels of the twentieth century, and one of the world’s great coming-of-age stories, Thomas Wolfe’s sprawling tale is rich with lyrical prose and vivid characterisations. It is also an autobiographical account of his own family and tormented life. The writing and publication of the novel is the subject of John Logan’s recent film, Genius.