This could be viewed from several angles. It might be looked upon as another Knock On Any Door, in its study of a London...

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ELEPHANT AND CASTLE

This could be viewed from several angles. It might be looked upon as another Knock On Any Door, in its study of a London slum, and the effect of environment on character -- a strange, sordid, sultry study of the attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Or it might be viewed as kin to Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men-a compassionate analysis of a youth whose strength was greater than he knew, whose love for the helpless and handicapped could be expressed only in service. Or it could be likened to the various contemporary stories of thwarted, possessive women, determined to control the lives of those about them -- and destroying what they thought to mold. It is all of these -- and it has a certain obsessive claim on one's interest. The story is set in the frame of a murder; a woman, once beautiful, is dead- and her husband, twice accused of murder or intent of murder, is convicted, and dies on the gallows. The story in between, is the story of an incredible marriage- a girl, gently born and disappointed in the man she was to have married, flaunts her self-sacrifice and marries a boy of the slums, convinced that she can remake him to her pattern. In the process, she spurns the help she might have had from Elizabeth, a woman whom she thought had wronged her, and Trevon, head of a settlement house, living out the penance of his own sex-ridden youth. And she destroys everything she might had had- even, in an agony of hate, the happiness of the daughter. It is her story --but somehow she is a lay figure, unbelievably sadistic in her cloak of good works. Hutchinson has such gifts that it is unfortunate that he invariably submerges them in overwriting, in insistent digressions, indirection and complexity, so that one needs a road map to find one's way through excess of verbiage.

Pub Date: Jan. 20, 1949

ISBN: 1104839857

Page Count: -

Publisher: Rinehart

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1948