THE SHORT THROAT, THE TENDER MOUTH by Doris Grumbach

THE SHORT THROAT, THE TENDER MOUTH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Again a suicide, again an educational institution are central elements in Doris Grumbach's second novel (see p. 713, 1962 for the review of The Spoil of the Flowers). The year is 1939, and certain members of the class of 1939 at the Washington Square campus of New York University are taken up with pursuits that are colored by the volcanic threat of war that already overflows Europe. Jack Magill has left his Bronx Catholic boyhood behind to become a leader in the Young Communist League. He infiltrates the campus magazine, staffed by a group of dissidents variously committed and motivated. There is Delia, rebelling from her Upper East Side background, who dismisses the middle class Jewish Mama's boy Stanley, but accepts as her lover the Negro Andrew Jackson. There is Vivian, who loves the homosexual Paul, and whose determined death cannot move him to guilt. Betrayal rears its head again years later when Jack ruthlessly pursues the woman professor who had loved him, forcing her to resign from the faculty in order to outrace the label of Communist. Miss Grumbach has the power to penetrate and encompass the lives of her characters, and she relies on this rather than any plot to absorb the reader's attention. Circumscribed in appeal.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1964
Publisher: Doubleday