Novel by Thomas Wolfe, posthumously published in 1939. You Can't Go Home Again is a sequel. Both are clearly autobiographical.
George Webber, born in 1900 in Libya Hill, a small city in the state of Old Catawba (North Carolina), grows up torn between the Southern values of his mother's family and the more dynamic ways of his father, who came from Pennsylvania and who deserted his family when George was a boy. When his father dies, George receives a small inheritance that allows him to attend a local Baptist college, where his friends include Jim Randolph, a football star, and Gerald Alsop, an intellectual aesthete. In time all seek a larger life in New York City, but Jim goes on to South America, looking for the excitement and adulation he had known in college, and Alsop grows more and more precious and reactionary. George has an affair with Esther Jack, an older, married woman, a sophisticated member of theatrical and literary society. Although she helps him by trying to get his lengthy novel published, their relations are tempestuous and he storms off to Europe. There he is torn between the desires of his Mind and his Body, as he puts it, as well as between the inspiration of foreign lands and recollections of youth, and the recognition that “you can't go home again.”
Related content in Oxford Index
Thomas Wolfe (1900—1938) American novelist