On the face of it, this is an important publication, the first translation of the seven volumes written since 1922, by the...

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THE THIBAULTS

On the face of it, this is an important publication, the first translation of the seven volumes written since 1922, by the Nobel Prize novelist. Du Gard's choice for the Nobel Prize was a distinct shock to the French literati, as he had not been considered among the top ranking, but since the announcement, his position has been solidified with the public, and the publication of THE THIBAULTS in one generous volume is news on Spring lists... The setting is Paris and environs; the time, some years preceding the World War. It is not one of these rambling panoramic novels, but a family story, fairly closely knit, for all its length, and holding the interest as the story of the relations of a father and two sons is unfolded. The father is a fanatical Catholic, rich and a conspicuous doer-of-good-works; one son is a rising young doctor, with time on the side for various light o'love passages, and one profound emotional experience; the younger son, a misfit, rebellious at any restrictions, emotionally unstable, and afraid of life. It is a story of conflict, between the father and the younger son, who through the very laws put upon him, breaks out into various types of escape, physical, emotional, mental. There is no mincing of words, no skirting of dangerous corners, and the book is not for the tender-minded, since it deals with varied aspects of sex in unreserved, and yet in no sense salacious, manner. The handling of the story is episodic, but there is a sweep of narrative, a continuity in character that encompasses many moods and many lives. The story ends with the death of the father. Although many of the conflicts are unresolved, an indication that there is more to come, there is a very natural break at this point, a closing of a period. Not a book with the social implications of a Rolland or a Romains, but a substantial piece of literature, ably translated, and provocative in its discussion of many phases of emotional life.

Pub Date: March 2, 1939

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1939