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This novel is a sequel to In the Time of Greenbloom and like most sequels it is not as good as the first book. Horab Greenbloom is a central influence in the life of young John Blaydon. The tangential but pivotal presence of the eccentric and mysterious Greenbloom was an element through which the earlier book profited: the character of the sensitive boy was as yet unformed and the book's quality of indefiniteness was both necessary and an asset. John's earlier life had a drama, though he could only partially understand and accept it, which determines his later attitudes. And by contrast everything that follows seems a pale imitation. John Blaydon is now 18, a medical student at Trinity College in Dublin and the time is 1935. A dedicated and gifted student, he becomes a part of several worlds through his friendship with the aristocrat Palgrave Chamberlyn- Ffynch, the proud, impoverished, brilliant Michael Groarke and Dymphna -- who reminds him of Victoria, the murdered girl he loved. Though he distinguishes himself in his studies he has difficulty getting into residence by his unfortunate publication of a satire on the University. Talented and full of ideas, he has no sense of direction and by his intensity he loses Dymphna to his rival and Groarke proves to be a mercurial friend. Into this emotional maelstrom comes Greenbloom, now converted from Judaism to Christianity, with a plan for rescuing his brother from Dachau with the aid of a German press attache. When John and his friends learn that Greenbloom's brother is already dead they turn their frustrated attention to the German consulate and they are arrested. John misses his final examinations and decides to leave Ireland with the intention of enrolling in a London medical school. This second interval in John Blaydon's life offers a story which is tightly constructed and which successfully evokes Ireland's atmosphere -- a climate which John, like so many before him, came to despise. But in retrospect many of its elements seem merely bizarre and its total implication proves to be more insubstantial than one would expect.

Pub Date: May 11th, 1960
Publisher: Morrow