THE BITTER BOX by Eleanor Clark


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The escape of a bank clerk from his cage (literally as well as figuratively), as Spring proves too much for Mr. Temple, efficient machine in the teller's cage. His personal odyssey combines parable and satire in unassuming proportions. Mr. Temple gets caught up with ""the comrades"" -- and to his surprise thoroughly enjoys the Party activities and characters. He broods over Hilda and her love for Mark; he suffers Rose as a sleeping companion, and he is terrorized by his nemesis, sinister, omnipresent John. The work at the bank suffers as his personal life intrudes, his criticism of the institution and its people underlines his growing hatred of symbols he had taken for granted. In the end he steals and is saved by Hilda, who -- divorced from the Party -- and with Mark dead -- has found in her baby son a real reason for living. Mr. Temple, stripped of job, companionship, beliefs, balances out his books... A story -- thin spun -- of an inoffensive conservative translated into questing radical; better as an idea than as an accomplished fact. The writing is frequently superior to the subject matter. And the humor -- indicated by the publishers -- seems to us wholly incidental and in no sense a dominant factor or even a noticeable factor in the book.

Pub Date: April 4th, 1945
Publisher: Doubleday, Doran