THE SHADOW IN THE GLASS by August Derleth

THE SHADOW IN THE GLASS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Shadow in the Glass begins in a mirror and ends in a vacuum. The aged, penniless hero stares into his mirror and, slowly, vivid italics dissolve into a flashback revealing the seasons of his life. This glossy cliche introduces the reader to Nelson Dewey, Wisconsin's first Governor...Nels comes to wild, budding Cassville in 1836. Soon, he completes his studies for the bar, acts as judge at a rip-roaring murder trial, gathers wealth from investments and falls naturally into politics. Freakishly, by a Party split, he becomes compromise candidate for governorship of the Territory, and wins the daughter of a Chief Justice. His two terms finished, Nels' golden days fade. His first son dies, his wife becomes disaffected, alcoholic and deserts him, his second son goes to Nebraska and is never heard from again, his home burns down and his daughter goes East forever. Broken, Nels retires to the limbo of a hotel room in Cassville. Period. Mr. Derleth does not bring off this honestly powerful material with the intensity it deserves, but he writes plainly and well in an absorbing, straightforward narrative style, with added lyrical set-pieces. One reader liked it, true enough. But just where Dreiser and Ibsen would have begun gloating and all is ripe for high pathos or tragedy, the italics run out while the author states baldly, ""The irony of his situation filled him"". That's something you don't tell the reader. Recommended for honest characterizations and landscape art.

Publisher: Duell Sloan & Pearce