How could the devil be a sophomore?"" Well, he is and one night he clenched John Fist's soul with a 26 week contract and an...

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TOO FAR TO WALK

How could the devil be a sophomore?"" Well, he is and one night he clenched John Fist's soul with a 26 week contract and an option to renew. The short novel is arranged in three books, which further suggests the morality play. John Fist, uncommitted, unshorn and thoroughly unkempt, is sunk in collegiate slobdom and cynicism at Sheldon College, a fictional cutting from the Ivy League. His descent to hell starts with a spiral of boredom and even Fist's first venture with a whore fails to give him that old I-AM-SOLD-TO-THE-DEVIL excitement. Taking the whore home to mother for a weekend does not generate more than a minor row (the Fists are much too bourgeois to brawl about these lapses). Always awaiting some penultimate thrill, the unbelievably footling Fist ends book two as a phoney martyr, having been accidently arrested in a protest march at Sheldon. Book Three is a series of LSD nightmares that culminate in a very old fashioned devil's dance (choreography straight out of the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft) where Fist reneges on his contract renewal by refusing to buss the devil's bottom. Next morning, he decides his philosophy class, presided over by a dim, god-like old party, is really not too far to walk to. Hersey hurls his symbols without art, but with a preacher's insistence. This is very light compared to the author's cement heavy White Lotus (p. 1107) and Too Far to Walk is not too long to read in Everyman's sort of code.

Pub Date: March 14, 1966

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1966