EMBLEMS OF CONDUCT by Donald Windham
Kirkus Star


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A very sweet book, a set of personal recollections from childhood to emerging manhood. Its style suggests William Maxwell and the New Yorker School of Memory Lane, along with the Deep South sensibility of Carson McCullers and Tennessee Williams. But the author has a purity and appeal all his own; her is frank but not clamorously confessional, he is self-involved but never irritatingly introspective. There's a wonderful innocence running through these pages; also a hard-won honesty with each event eliciting its little insight or illumination. The scene is Georgia in the '20's and '30's, the small town people his family and friends: there's the father he hardly knew, a boozer and a wanderer; the mother to whom he is over-attached but whom he leaves; the estrangement with his brother; the schools and the jobs; the world of adolescence and the self- awakening other world of rebellion, romance and the relationship with Butch, his buddy. Lastly the pulling-up-stakes at 19 and the journey to New York. The author is Donald Windham, noted for his novel The Dog Star. Windham has never written very much, but here as elsewhere, what he writes contains a calm, candid lyricism, a sensitive awareness of life's possibilities and pitfalls.

Publisher: Scribners