A LAMP FOR NIGHTFALL by Erskine Caldwell


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It seems hardly fair to transfer the perversions and regressions of Tobacco Road to the relatively untrammeled reaches of the State of Maine. Once again we are given in Caldwell's pungent sparse prose almost too dourly factual a portrait of a town gone to seed, of farms with darkened windows and weed cluttered fields, of old names forgotten, dishonored, old families degenerating through intermarriage. The only light on the future lies in the young people, most of whom are second generation ""foreigners""- French Canadians, Scandinavians -- scorned by the old timers. Against this background is told the story of Thede Emerson, old, soured, miserly, feeding his hatred of the foreign dispossessors; of his wife Rosa, whom he accepts as keeping his house, and condones her sexual appetities; of Howard, who wanted to be an engineer, who loved- perversely- his sister, and who killed himself at the end; of Jean, who escaped in marriage to one of the hated French-Canadians. A typically Caldwell story- which leaves a bad taste.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1952
Publisher: Little, Brown (D.S.& P.)