Dressed with a fine foreword by Irving Howe (Schwartz is nicely registered as among other things ""a detached student of the...

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Dressed with a fine foreword by Irving Howe (Schwartz is nicely registered as among other things ""a detached student of the arts of misunderstanding"") as well as an introduction by Schwartz's biographer, James Atlas, this collection of out-of-print and never-before-published stories gives about the best idea of this writer's real strengths and weaknesses. There is an agreed-upon masterwork, the title story--a young man watching a dream-film of his parents' courtship--in which a stubborn hold on life's shifting exteriors never crowds out an attention to soul. There are half-realized parables such as ""The Commencement Day Address"" and ""The Track Meet"" as well as sniping social reportage--""New Year's Eve"" and ""The World Is a Wedding""--through which Schwartz's brilliant depression flickers on and off. Most satisfying are the two novellas, ""America! America!"" and ""The Child Is the Meaning of This Life."" Here, following the course of a few Jewish immigrant lives during the Depression, Schwartz shows how surely he felt generational guilt and pathos; the novellas end with crescendos of illumination, home-truths that forsake authorial point-of-view for great bursts of feeling. It's this imaginative sympathy which still holds up best in Schwartz, and in these two works, it's unmistakably strong.

Pub Date: April 28, 1978

ISBN: 0811206807

Page Count: -

Publisher: New Directions

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1978