THE CASHIER by Gabrielle Roy


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The author, a French-Canadian of considerable ability, has written what is in effect the story of the slow-death of a post-war ""little man"". Alexandre Chenevert is an insignificant, hard-working, over-sensitive Montreal bank teller of 52, who takes upon himself the cares of the world: the plight of the starving Chinese: the Jews who try to find refuge in a homeland; as well as his own worry of living on a small salary with his wife, having an unhappily married daughter, being sickly and suffering from insomnia. Because of these tensions, he quarrels with his best friend, is testy with his wife, and finally makes a hundred dollar error at the bank. Though none of these things is irremediable, he worries more and more and his health worsens. A doctor recommends a vacation away where at first he finds peace, but later tension returns. When he goes back to his Job, he relapses, goes to the hospital, and slowly dies- finding that at the end everyone is kind to him at last... Alexandre is most sensitively drawn, the modern, ineffectual man of good will, and the other characters- at the bank, the doctor, the priest, his wife, etc. are people in their own right as well as symbols of short-cuts to an acceptance of life that Alexandre is unable to take. A moving novel, but one that is so unrelievedly depressing that sales will probably be small.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1955
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace