ROUND SHAPE by Alma Routsong


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This rather shapeless novel has no strong theme- except perhaps the preservation of integrity- and there are touches of eccentric realism a little suggestive of Eudora Welty. Its scene too is unidentifiable, a small town- Woodchuck- back of nowhere which might be anywhere (the midwest presumably) and there some eight characters are seen in various stances at alternating intervals. Frank Thorndike, favorite son of the mother who still calls him Boyside, returns from the Army to find that she has stolen his money with which he had hoped to open a repair shop. Instead, he takes a job on the night shift so that he can marry Nancy, who endures the complaints and criticisms of Frank's mother but returns them in kind. There is Rose, a widow, who runs the switchboard, marries again in spite of her young son's resentment of a stepfather; the rich, well preserved May Flamm with her free lust for Frank; an aging couple whom death finally separates; etc., etc. Sequences, with no particular definition or direction, are distinguished by the sere touches of character and life as it is. An insubstantial, experimental novel. Limited.

Pub Date: Aug. 19th, 1959
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin