DEVIL'S ELBOW by Brainard Cheney


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A disjointed novel, with strained sensibilities, this has some of the old (now ancient) characters of This Is Adam (1958), a tauter effort. In the post Civil War south, Adam (a mulatto Negro who suffered considerably in the first book) is playing guru to the disaffected, decentralized seekings of young Marcellus Hightower. Marcellus spends a lot of time brooding about the tragic murder of his best friend, David. He is also losing his land and his heritage and a certain puritanical outlook as he commences several affairs ending up with Melanie who forces him to marry her (a false pregnancy?) but their partnership dissolves in tears and recriminations and Melanie goes off to take a doctoral degree, leaving Marcellus to discover and adjust to the real facts behind David's death and eventually find himself. He ""discovers renewed strength in his marriage and a hope that cleans the heart"" (the publishers). But you won't be sure why or how since Mr. Cheney hardly ever gives notice before making any changes. Emotional whimsy.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1969
Publisher: Crown