NECESSARY END by Anita Rowe Block


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Anita Rowe Block achieved a certain notoriety with the publication, in January 1958, of a collection of short stories, more for the sensationalism of the title -- Love is a Four Letter Word, than for any significance in the stories themselves. In this tiresome first novel she goes a long way to make a simple and obvious point: that a life without purpose or usefulness becomes a burden, if not an absurdity. She chooses to work out her theme, which is a worthy one, through the trite, easily recognizable situations and characters most often found in the ladies' magazines. Scott Powell, at 46 the president of an international pharmaceutical company, is a tall, broad-shouldered, handsome, proud man, married to a paragon of smooth perfections. The Powell children, shining, intelligent, and indulged, have managed to remain unspoiled. The perfect, envied family had led an unruffled life until Scott was stricken with a heart condition. The problem: is Scott, a normally robust man, to eke out his days as a semi-invalid to pacify his frantic wife or will he plunge ahead into activities which will doubtless shorten his life? The resolvement (from Julius Caesar- ""death will come when it will come""): Scott arranges for his son to take over the presidency of the company and accepts a post as presidential representative in the Far East. Along the way there is a great deal of talk about business ethics and the opportunities for idealism within the capitalistic system, none of which manages to raise the characters above the mechanical level.

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 1959
Publisher: Doubleday