PASSING BY by Elliott Merrick


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The Cornhill of the Merchant Marine did valiant service during the war- and this is her story, through the story of one junior officer, Duncan (who might readily be identified with the author, so keen a sense of personal and intimate knowledge does the text convey). Here is the ship, brought alive as we learn to know her inner life; here is her complement of officers and men, their personalities, eccentricities, bits of their past flashes of their dreams; here is the ever-present threat of danger- and worse of boredom; here is shore leave, in many ports of call; here is the convey- and, when they thought they were homewardbound, here is the bitter disappointment as orders come to leave the convoy and head south; and here at last is disaster and shipwreck and only a tiny handful surviving. The background is the story; the romance, as Duncan reaches home and finds the girl, at a seaman's club, and through her achieves his dream- this is a melody second to the main theme. Slight as it is, there's suggestion of Brie Knight's This Above All as Duncan and Eve arrive together at the recognition of the inescapable fact that he must return to duty. There's philosophy and beauty here -- though on the plane of story, there's a sense of slow motion. I liked it.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1947
Publisher: Macmillan