A HOLIDAY BY THE SEA by Gerald Brenan
Kirkus Star


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Gerald Brenan's first novel (he has written two travel books) is in many ways an extraordinary book- and where there will be few to question the dazzling brilliance with which it is written, there may be many who will turn aside from the sterility of its theme which is in turn that of its central character, another hollow man, another ""Prufock among the teacups"". Tom Fisher, forty odd, a dilettante, a rentier, an unpublished and often non-writing writer, unmarried but ambiguously attached to his half-sister, Dora, is caught by the ""powers of tedium and of death in life."" While unable to really communicate with anyone, he is able to talk endlessly, probe tirelessly, and along with his sportive, intellectual gambits there are the disturbing, revealing dreams. Summering, on the Kent coast, with Dora, and her husband Hubert who is going mad (and his deliberate unpleasantnesses to Hubert are contributory), he also has an affair with a girl who has been mad and who had once loved Hubert. Dora alone, and, and worn, is not self-enclosed and is perhaps a little freer after the tragedy of Habert's inevitable suicide.... it is a strange book, savagely clever, tormented, involute, filled with the pervasive mainise of the man who is out of context with his time, in this case the '80's. The many moods of the weather and the sea, always an insistent presence, pattern and reflect the desolate inner world here and are remarkably effective.

Pub Date: Jan. 4th, 1961
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy