THE FAR AWAY MUSIC by Arthur Jr. Meeker


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The author of The Ivory Mischief has gone far from his French background of the Grand Siecle to Chicago in the 1850's, the thriving bustle of its self-conscious development from a crude frontier town to a mid-western commercial center, with its accompanying touches of culture and social aspirations. His story revolves around the Bascomb family, -- clannish, petty, hypocritical, bourgeois. One daughter has rebelled against family tyranny long enough to marry an improvident dreamer who listened to far away music. The novel opens with his return after seven years' unexplained absence -- his attempt to win back his wife whom he still loves -- his silent battle with the everpresent relatives and his final defeat. This battle of the hearts is recast in the persons of their two grown daughters, -- one who has the spirit of her father and elopes with the man of her choice; the other who succumbs to the clan's desires. The book ends on a note of unrequited love -- the father leaves once again for the far away music... Uninspired, pedestrian writing, with a pattern that suggests somewhat Tree of Liberty though it lacks the richness of historical background and perception of character that made that book distinguished. This one -- to be frank -- was often boring.

ISBN: 0548068860
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin