ASPHALT AND DESIRE by Frederic Morton


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This details the events of the five days following a Bronx Jewish girl's graduation from Hunter College of the City of New York, where she has been the editor of the college paper, a junior Phi Bete, and a ""miserable virgin"". Her frantic efforts to land a magazine job and to ""grow up"" are set against the even more frantic background of her first generation family. The home scenes with her driven, driving mother, her crushed father, and her violently emotional and lonely brother, as they struggle with themselves and with each other in family love and hate, are very real and by far the best things in the book. In her attempts to find herself outside her home she becomes involved with several men, fails to get a job, takes part in the tragi-comic fiasco which occurs when she tries to do an expose of cheap hotels, and feels pangs of thwarted ambition, etc. All of this is told in the girl's own self-consciously worldly, bitter, and (she thinks) biting language. She is however only a surface sophisticate, and much of her story does not ring true... Perhaps the family scenes, and the sex, and the publisher promotion will overcome the average reader resistance to the long Wolfe-ian passages of introspection and the rather hypoed plot.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1952
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace