THE LIVING IS EASY by Dorothy West


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A first novel of Negroes which subdues the dramatic, the discriminatory, this is an aware portrayal of a special segment of this society, the ""blue-white"" blacks of Boston at the turn of the century, with their very conscious concept of caste superiority and gentility. Centered is Cleo, with her sins of pride and power, her desires for social position and money, as she dominates and destroys those around her. Bart, her husband, whom she milks insistently; her sisters whom she imports from the South (for their own sakes), who are forced into dependence on Cleo and who forfeit their homes and husbands; Simeon, Harvard intellectual, dedicated to his race, and the Duchess- once the sporting woman of Boston's first families- whom he marries; Thea, his sister, who also had passed, etc., etc. An uncompromising if often compassionate portrait of the inheritance of color warring against acquired notions of breeding and betterment, this is an unusual presentation of a circumscribed circle hoping for assimilation and advancement.

Pub Date: May 13th, 1948
ISBN: 1558611479
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin