THE NATIVE MOMENT by Anthony C. West


Email this review


River's End and Other Stories (1958) introduced an uninhibited and gifted young Irish writer to American readers. The Native Moment, his first novel, is a Lost Weekend sired by Ulysses out of Lady Chatterley -- and it is not for the thin- skinned. A day and a night in Dublin -- with the venal, squalid city as background, and pubs and bars and sordid rooming houses and harlot's quarters offering small escape from the teeming life of the city- as Simon, newly returned from America, tries to come to terms with the knowledge that Tamar, whom he had thought to wed, was pregnant by any one of a number of men who had had her. There is anger and bitterness, jealousy and hate, pity and resignation -- but never is the city right for Simon whose philosophy and native wisdom bind him to the country he loves. At moments it is a repellent story in its raw sex and scatalogical minutiae; at times it rises above this in a lavishness of response to beauty, rejection of ugliness. And there is one memorable and unforgettable episode between Simon and Lena, a woman of the streets. But for the most part one senses, regretfully, the waste of a rare talent in an orgy of sensationalism- and in alternating outpourings of Gaelic meanderings. West has yet to come to terms with his genius.

Pub Date: Nov. 29th, 1959
Publisher: McDowell, Obolensky