The recent proliferation of juvenilia on the adult market certainly commands curiosity and, perhaps, applause but they...

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BEAU CLOWN

The recent proliferation of juvenilia on the adult market certainly commands curiosity and, perhaps, applause but they confirm the difficulties attached to any evaluation. Is it fair to impose standard literary criteria on Beau Clown for example, the product of a 14 year old imagination? With the assistance of a neighboring school teacher, Mlle. Grimault assembled fragments of her humble life and created an adventure -- at once synthetically remote and yet rooted in real confrontations. Nicole, like Berthe, is a goat-herder without education. One day she finds a woman with a new-born baby living in a cave and together they meet some American Negro soldiers who accompany them back to Nicole's house. The father, Beau Clown, the Professor, and Chopper -escapees from a lunatic asylum;- Nicole's sister and her friend; and the soldiers together merge the disparate facets of their respective situations. The older girls are attracted to the money of the Americans. Beau Clown in his dementia recognizes in Fabienne his old love Ghismonde. The Chopper is dead and examined dispassionately by the children. Beau Clown demonically throws himself into the flames when he understands that Fabienne is not Ghismonde....and Nicole...she remains an adult observer most of the time and tells her tale with brutality, at a distance. The sequence is often jerky, the execution starkly empirical and unemotional; the many imperfections are in part redeemed by the primitive vitality created by so young an author.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 1957

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Rinehart

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1957