A PERFECT STRANGER by Edward Hyams

A PERFECT STRANGER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Taking life more seriously than did his earliest books (The Slaughterhouse Informer; 998) this is closer to their successors (The Unpossessed and Tillotson) and now questions certain aspects of personal responsibility and social commitment. The nameless narrator who is a writer tells the story around Luther Emmett who comes into his life as a boy; they share homes and schools where Luther's brilliance, arrogance, and rather olympian uninvolvement sets him apart from and above all others. Circumstances in Luther's life will further singularize him; his equivocal parentage which will not be clarified until Luther inherits great wealth; his affair with Pauline, a Negro, although he shrugs off the ugly racial events taking place in one of the new African countries. Pauline's death, however, incriminates Luther, and his virtue of ""singleness and isolation"", as well as others, and in the reparations to follow Luther becomes a ""perfect stranger"" although there have been earlier intimations of the sudden, savage cruelty of which he is capable.... A novel, which, aside from some rather fortuitous connections, is more than usually absorbing in the issues it posits and the external events it pursues, all viewed with a sophisticated intelligence.

Pub Date: April 13th, 1964
Publisher: Simon & Schuster