With the exception of A Male Child (1957), Paul Scott's novels have had a Far Eastern background. Atmosphere was much a part...

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THE BENDER

With the exception of A Male Child (1957), Paul Scott's novels have had a Far Eastern background. Atmosphere was much a part of his memory-misted The Birds of Paradise and it is, if differently, just as prevalent in this new book which moves from London to its environs. Here the experiences of a number of people over a number of years are concentrated in a day and a night. They are recorded in alternating snatches of conversations, at parties, in pubs, on the phone; or transcribed on the tape recorder of an aging woman or through the deathbed reveries of another. In concentric circles, they confine the lives of one disparate family- the Spruces; George Lisle-Spruce, a frayed figure, without his wife or a job; his brother Tim, now asking for the repayment of an old debt in order to finance the birth of an illegitimate grandchild; a much younger brother more successfully involved in television and an affair; and finally Gillian, Tim's daughter, ""basically existentialist"" or offhand about her pregnancy. Throughout money is an insistent theme, not as an incentive but as a niggling necessity; existence as well as morality is shaped by it... Paul Scott is a versatile writer who moves easily from urbane comedy to the implied tragedy of loneliness and uselessness. His modern montage is acutely observed and it has both subtlety and style.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Morrow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963