THE THOUSAND DEATHS OF MR. SMALL by Gerald Kersh

THE THOUSAND DEATHS OF MR. SMALL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

He writes like an angel-he writes like a devil, does Gerald Kersh -- but the substance of his writings continues to offend me, in the overall design as well as the intimate (and frequently unsavory) details. This might well be case history of a man, unhinged by the buffets of fate. Throwbacks to a childhood, colored by unhappiness and deceit, as his father, forever unsuccessful, tries to make real a false front forced on him by his wife, who dislikes his Jewishness, though herself a Jew, who dislikes his shoemaking, who forces him into continual lies by her reception of the truth. Charles, the son, dies a thousand times in the falseness of his childhood, in his frustrations, emotionally, in his love life, his professional aspirations. Ivy is denied him; she is a goy and he marries Hettie because of a deathbed promise. The theatre is denied him; and he makes a modicum of success in advertising-another false front- through his father's friend, the hunchback Solly Schwartz. It's a difficult book to read, episodic, erratic in pace. But bit by bit, it takes shape; the pieces fall together to make a whole --and ""Mr. Small"" emerges as a shadow of a man he might have been, against a middle class English background as unprepossessing as is he himself.

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 1950
Publisher: Doubleday