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The divided opinions of critics and general readers concerning this author's earlier Jefferson Selleck will help -- and hinder -- the sale of this new book. Just as the narrator, Riley McCullough, makes a point of the long pregnancies in his family, so is this the extended parturition of an adult for Riley finally comes to the end of his revels and accomplishes what he always wanted to do -- to marry his cousin, Anastasia Westward. And through the long years between is the long inventory of Riley's life as, Mitty-like, his dreams of glory run alongside the chain reactions that involve him. Admiring his uncle and resentful he wasn't his father, devoted to the farm, Nonesuch, and a real estate bubble, Riley is caught by Emmy and rebels against marriage and her pragmatic mind. Although divorced they are together again in Gateway, a midwest town, and Riley's irresponsibility lands him in jail, in a scheme for rain making, in the practice of Cogitology, and in making a real effort to win Anastasia. Emmy's pregnancy almost hooks him but the baby himself is proof of the real father and Anastasia surrenders. A patterned non-pattern, this catalogs the evils of the age in cumulated cliches, parades a defiant exhibitionism and mirrors a self-distorted world. This will be modern mumbo-jumbo for many.

Pub Date: May 13th, 1954
Publisher: Little, Brown