THE OCTOBER FOX by Clark McMeekin


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Bluegrass country -- fox hunting country- for a story of a powerful family, the Thornberrys, at the turn of the century. The big Judge dominated his household so that his grown sons stood in fear of his anger. And when his daughter, Fancy, brought home a school friend, May Purchase, Rome Thornberry brought down his father's wrath by staying out beyond what was ordained as the proper time. Then matters come to a head:- May is sent back to school, the sons quarrel with their father, and when May comes back again she gets engaged to Rome and elopes with Brack. This is chiefly Rome's story, as it spans a number of years, sees the collapse of Brack's marriage, Fancy's abnormal attachment to her home bringing her marriage to nothingness, and the old Judge continuing to dominate them all, down to little Prinny. Throughout, the charm lies in the picture of Kentucky life, in the superstitious thread of half-accepted belief in the Tod, the giant and ageless fox seen only when drama threatens the family, and Rome's effort to establish himself on his own, free of the link to his father and his unwanted love for May. The ending seems a bit inconclusive- and leaves a good deal to the reader to surmise. A more original book than this writing team has given us for some years. There's something of the Jalna quality to it. Try that market.

Publisher: Putnam