Mr. Gunn has written a delicate novel of a young Negro's coming into maturity while he looks backward at his mentors who...

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ALL THE REST HAVE DIED

Mr. Gunn has written a delicate novel of a young Negro's coming into maturity while he looks backward at his mentors who have died. Even more, he has somehow avoided making this a Negro novel about Negro problems, and the miscegenous central situation is handled so casually that the reader has to remind himself that there is supposedly a color barrier in the States today. Barney Gifford returns to Philadelphia from New York and relives certain youthful memories. The outstanding figure in his past is his cousin Taylor, who looked like a prototypical Aryan, sometimes passed for while and was killed when Barney was seventeen. He had been Barney's idol. Through much of the novel Barney carries a subconscious homosexual love for Taylor which in some ways interferes with his establishing a continuing relationship with any of the girls he meets. However, he falls in love with Maggie, a model and a painter, and after some engagingly innocent courting they set up housekeeping together. Barney become an overnight Broadway success as an actor (quite believably), but remains a gentle, shy person in quest of his true self. This self is explained to him mainly by Bernard, a writer and sophisticated alcoholic, who eventually commits suicide and leaves Barney a million dollars. If the plot sounds fantastic, it nevertheless engages the willing suspension of disbelief, and without exception all the characters have the ring of solid coin. There are also many passages of superior mood drawing, of rooms and dust through sunlight.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 1964

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1964