THOROFARE by Christopher Morley


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I loved it and put it in the same pigeonhole of books to read again where his own John Mistictoe and Human Being belong. Once again he has ""caught a human being in the act of being human"". Once again Chris Morley is himself, this time in the person of small Geoffrey Barton, English lad, shortly to become Jeff Barton, American citizen-in-the-making. The book takes its title from a winding street that goes through the English village where Geoffrey is being brought up by a regiment of aunts. Into this aunt hill comes the almost legendary Uncle Dan from America, and, before he goes back again to that wild west of ""Chesspeaks"" (substitute Baltimore), he persuades his sister Bee and Geoffrey to come with him. There's an immediacy in the pattern of the days that follow, as Geoffrey, Briton, becomes Jeff, American, for highlighted and undertoned are marshalled those little differences between two allies that are great gaps in mutual understanding and sympathy, --differences in pronunciation, in accent, in phraseology, in custom and manner and emphasis. But it is more than this. It is a searching and sympathetic and understanding picture of a boy growing up; a nostalgic background look to the pranks and disasters and adventures of boyhood, the cruelties and the imaginings, the dreams and the realities. Therefore becomes a symbol of the winding thread linking England and America, and at its close, newly made citizen Jeff Barton, is about to go back to England for a holiday, to revisit the scenes of boyhood. The period is a generation ago. Morley knows both countries well, from his own boyhood on; and his gallery of characters is a vital one. There is little of patterned plot. The book is the boy and the man.

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1942
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace