THE DEATH OF PETERSON'S WHARF by Charles Brooks

THE DEATH OF PETERSON'S WHARF

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Charles Brooks' second novel (superior to his first- The Night of the Big Snow p. 72, 1962) presents a problem: the book has about fifty pages which are a lively transcript of pure experience, typed by an 11 year old boy in the early stages of immanent adolescence. They are most affecting. The rest is artistically deficient, plain-faced novelizing. The story's locale is a small, north shore Long Island town in 1946 and plumb center in the narrator's childhood. His best friends were the twins next door, Ace and Swifty. Ace, however, died in the summer of '46, and now, 15 years later, the mystery of that death is unravelled. Ace, the narrator, and their shantytown Shake the Greek meet up with a bohemian ex-Marine turned painter, Paul, who lives in a shack. They become comrades and the painter gets Ace painting. They hang their paintings at the annual Washington Square outdoor exhibit and, during the novel's peak moments, Ace and Shake go wandering around the Village for the day like two Kansans. A few weeks later when Paul has to leave for San Francisco, Ace's teenage sister commits suicide. Then Ace drowns- suicide also. Both had been wild about Paul and took his leaving as rejection of their love. Throughout this mood-bedecked plot, Ace's personal memoirs are inserted in long paragraphs of glowing originality- ust as he typed them on an old machine- and they are fine.

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 1963
Publisher: Macmillan