TO THE MARKET PLACE by Fleming Berry


Email this review


A reissue--51 years after it was originally published--of 90-year-old Fleming's (Lucinderella, 1988; The Bookman's Tale, 1986) romantically bittersweet novel of a southern girl looking for life and love in 1920's Manhattan. "The wilderness of towers, the petrified city"--that's N.Y.C. of 1927, at least to newly arrived Kentuckian Carolyn Menifee, a college graduate who couldn't stand the boredom of the family farm and thus decided to head for the Big Apple. She finds digs in the Village with her college chum, Louisa Meade, and takes jobs that range from selling jewelry at Macy's to working at the Museum of Natural History. Meanwhile, her expanding circle of friends includes Emma Fisher, a young matron; Howard Dill, a book reviewer who has a crush on her; novelist Quinny Thayer, who scored a Scott Fitzgerald-like success with his first "undergraduate" novel ten years earlier, and has been struggling to match it ever since; and, especially, painter Owen Woodruff, another southerner, who is torn between a career in art--and going back home to run the family fertilizer business. To make matters worse, Owen is roommate Louisa's soon-to-be husband. Worse still, Carolyn is in love with him--and stays that way--even after Louisa and Owen marry and have a child. At the close, Owen vows to give up all for Carolyn (he has secretly loved her too) but finally cannot bring himself to--and she is left alone in New York to face her future. Slow-moving at times, and perhaps unavoidably dated--but, in all, a nearly elegiac portrait of being young in New York in the Roaring Twenties.

ISBN: 933256-72-8
Review Posted Online: