EAST BY DAY by Blair Niles


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An unusual book, not only in being a departure from Blair Niles more florid type of story, but in the substance and background of the story itself. Historical fiction, in a new key; a psychological study of the effect of external incidents on people not actively concerned, and of how these effects change the pattern of thought. A new slant to the slavery problem, before the outbreak of war, as the Amistad Case brought sympathies and emotions to white heat, as it was tried in court after court. The minor issues on which the legal decision rested faded into insignificance as people faced dramatically the facts of the slave trade, of the conditions on board slavers, of the Negroes as human beings, homesick for their native land to the point of putting through a successful mutiny. The story is told in three distinct segments:- in wistful memory, as Lucy Hazard goes back to her childhood comradeship with the grandfather who had been a whaling captain; in Lucy's present restlessness and dissatisfaction with the normal pattern of her life, interrupted and set in new paths by the Amistad Case. Finally, the story of a mother and son, she in Washington, he in Liberia, while she tries to capture for him, in letters, intimate glimpses of the passing scene in the capital, the nation and her own life. One feels the threads being drawn together -- the end inevitable. But in the process, a new aspect of the country is revealed. Lucy is the one wholly vivid, well-rounded figure; Grandfather Hazard takes on reality through her eyes, and through his old mate. The story is good reading and well done.

Pub Date: Jan. 16th, 1940
Publisher: Farrar & Rinehart