ALL IN THE FAMILY by Edwin O'Connor
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To a certain extent this might be considered an afterword to the very successful The Last Hurrah. The narrator, Jack Kinsella, a writer of mysteries, had been Frank Skeffington's confidential secretary and he is cousin to Charles Kinsella, new governor of Skeffington's state. Charles is just as much a representative of the new politics as Skeffington was of the old, and there is considerable comparison between the two regimes. Jack had been disenchanted by Skeffington's corruption but he is also discouraged by his cousin's coolness and manipulative techniques. This sort of thing forms a large and interesting part of the book but the story is primarily about the Kinsella family--Uncle Jimmy, the irascible financier called the ""Irish Baruch""; the sons--Charles who perfectly fulfills his father's ambitions; James a world famous ecumenical priest; and Phil, the maverick. On the sidelines is Jack, drawn into family affairs, though not really a part of them, by his own personal tragedies. There are obvious parallels in the novel with the Kennedy family but they are not insistent and not all that important. What O'Connor is best at is creating a mood, which in this case does not match the drama of The Last Hurrah but then the materials are just not there. All in the Family has its successes however and very much involves the reader in its own tone of loss and a certain sadness. This novel may be a more sophisticated book but Skeffington has left his indelible mark.

Publisher: Little, Brown