ORPHANS AND OTHER CHILDREN by Charles Webb

ORPHANS AND OTHER CHILDREN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Three long short stories which, surprisingly and ironically, have more staying power than any of Webb's post-Graduate novels, strengthened to a considerable degree by situations which are more than one act set-ups. In all of them the characters are casualties of one sort or another: ""Gwen"" -- a teen-ager staying with an aunt in California who is never around -- is not only the victim of her parents who have abandoned her but a husband and wife, of sorts, who spend Sundays at a nudist colony where. . . . Ed, who runs a laundromat, is asked, seemingly happenstantially, to be ""The Last Usher"" at a forthcoming wedding of a young couple who use him as a sexual catalyst; and finally at the ""Mediterranean Estates"" for old people, Homer Dawson, a nice, lonely man is again the recipient of unwanted attentions of the first resident there with ""one little problem"" -- more happily resolved at the close with the arrival of a comfortable widow who will change the character of their last years ahead. In all three stories there is a definite predatory and perverse menace overhead, or just around the comer, while ordinary lives contend with their innate loneliness. Webb's always casual style is spiked (if with less humor) by its apparently desultory aimlessness -- ""Do you get the feeling something's remaining unsaid?."" ""Like what?"" ""I don't know or I'd say it."" In this way he says quite a bit about people who don't communicate easily.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1974
Publisher: Putnam