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This is the 11th novel in C. P. Snow's cycle which has gained a cumulatively wider audience with each book; its selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club will now extend the eminent domain. Snow's success can be explained in many ways: he is, as someone has commented, ""one of the few relatively serious writers whose novels are easy to read"" and, one might add, understand, at a time when many people are finding the younger writers disconcerting. He represents a traditional form to which the conservative reader can turn with the assurance of finding vested values protected (even though, in this book which begins in 1955, they are plainly in the process of being scuttled). And he writes with a level intelligence of things as they are- i.e. a pragmatic worldliness and practical knowledgeability. Corridors of Power is concerned with Britain's position in the thermonuclear arms race, temporizing at a time when she is still playing the game of power politics without many of the cards. Its central character is Roger Quaife, an ambitious, ascendant, adroit politician although something of ""an irregular."" A Cabinet Minister, he is widely attacked on his stand; then on the other hand, there is his affair with another woman which leads to threatening letters. As is observed during the book, one can get away with misconduct- public or private- but not both at the same time. He doesn't, and the end fulfills his wife's wistful portent--""It must be awful to have a brilliant future behind you."" The publishers hope for the widest market Snow has had with this new book although it lacks the closer drama of The Affair. However it is, once again, a sound reading of the political, moral, ideological temper of the times; a substantial achievement even though one in which intellect has been asserted at the expense of imagination.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1964
Publisher: Scribners