The drama which the commonplace can offer is heightened in this view of a summer in suburbia. The residents of Rock Ledge,...

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A TIME OF FEAR

The drama which the commonplace can offer is heightened in this view of a summer in suburbia. The residents of Rock Ledge, one of the ""better"" Massachusetts communities, were anxious to insulate themselves and their children from people and mores foreign to their experience. The advance then of the Haskell Construction Co. with their multitude of pink and green low-cost houses, into land near Rock Ledge, was an occasion for alarm among Rock Ledge families -- the Blakes, Yorks, Morrisons and their neighbors. The fear for their property values, their landscapes, their schools-and the fear that they were snobs-was the overriding emotion of that summer when their principles of right and wrong were tested and when they broke under the demand for calm decision. Only Peter Blake, a lawyer, kept his objective view and lost friends because of it. The arrival, on Blake's street, of a ""blockbuster"", Albert Krune, and his horrid family which included his sexually perverted son, was the beginning of fantastic goings-on in Rock Ledge. Krune was hired by Haskell to create divisions and suspicion among his neighbors in order to weaken the Rock Ledge Assn. -- a property protection organization -- thus permitting Haskell to buy land in the area. The town panics in the light of newspaper publicity denouncing its self-styled ""aristocracy"" but Blake saves the situation by suggesting that the Rock Ledge Assn. as a real estate venture, could buy the disputed land and build its own low-cost housing. The problem diminishes in the light of reason but has left its scars -- distrust, envy, friendships broken, a marriage shattered. At times this tale escapes reality because the author's villains become caricatures, but he tells a rapid, terse story that strikes some true chords.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 1957

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1957