THE GENTLE INSURRECTION by Doris Betts

THE GENTLE INSURRECTION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A first collection of short stories has won the Putnam-University of North Carolina prize contest, and is a quiet demonstration of commonplace lives in rather cheerless circumstances (death is a frequent corollary). A white woman's discomfiture while calling on her recently bereaved colored servant betrays a racial hatred; a mill-worker achieves ""A Mark of Distinction"" and defends his right to build a picket fence; two children view the body of their Uncle John, in a coffin- and curiosity veers to disgust and then amusement; an old man, dying of pneumonia in a rooming house, rebuts the devil; in the title story, a girl whose life has been frayed by poverty turns against her mother and goads her over the desertion of her father; a librarian, Miss Parker, is ""possessed by scandalous thoughts""; old Mama Bower admits with her death to an unsuspected common frailty; etc. etc. These and others provide a subdued, but not necessarily sombre, spectacle, honestly observed.

Pub Date: May 28th, 1954
Publisher: Putnam