With a spare simplicity, a tension which is residual in the dissonance between its two characters, and a drama which derives...

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THE SCAPEGOAT

With a spare simplicity, a tension which is residual in the dissonance between its two characters, and a drama which derives from that relationship, this is a psychopathological story of a man and a boy. Duncan, the boy, thirteen, and recently orphaned, is sensitive, uneasy, furtive; Gerald, his uncle, who takes charge of him after the death of Duncan's mother, is bluff, hearty, superficially benevolent, with an old army British background of colonial India, polo, pigsticking. Between these two there are only a few moments of sympathy and companionship, although Gerald is aware that the boy is not quite normal and perhaps needs a professional guidance he cannot give. With Duncan's expulsion from school, for stealing, the relationship is further strained, and Gerald's only therapy is discipline. And when the boy steals again- from his uncle- the climax is reached and breaks in violence and death... The concentration, the compression here gives this an almost classical caste, and a direct and telling impact. It should command critical attention and a literary following.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 1885983093

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1949