Email this review


A handsome twosome from this major British author, opposite in tone yet distinguished by the same high noon vitality of Loving and Nothing. Mr. Green's novels shimmer with life -- his characters are never frozen into caryatids to support coincidence, nor do they stand alone in chilly isolation from life itself -- they move freely as did Smollett's ""originals"", yet appear obliquely to the reader according to the true nature of personality. Caught is an effective and brilliant novel with a background of London in the early days of the war. Richard Roe, a widower and father of a small son, serving in the auxiliary Fire Service, is pulled down and under in the expediency of life in wartime. In the long period of waiting before the heavy blitz, personalities waver and rearrange themselves -- Acting Sub Pye, tortured by the phantom of his sister's insanity, is broken and takes his life; lovely women seek substitutes for the men they once loved and lost; old man Piper offers a chattering senile accompaniment to gossip and drinking; and old Mrs. Howells tries desperately and touchingly to cope with a mentally ill daughter and brutal son-in-law. The book ends as Richard talks and talks about fire and death, making a clean break with the what are now maudlin memories of his pre-war past. Concluding is a summer idyll with delightful humor as well as an indulgent sadness at the passing of time. The story is concerned with the efforts of two exquisite harpies -- managers of a State School for girls- to dislodge the famous old scientist, Mr. Rock (""the horrid Rock""), and his deliciously unstrung daughter from the cottage which had been given to him along with the job of pig-tending by the State for previous services rendered. A love affair, a lost child, enchanting girls and a magnificent pig provide a fuss within the space of one heartbreakingly beautiful summer's day. The Green cult will welcome both novels -- mark plus sales for Caught as effective war fiction.

Pub Date: Dec. 28th, 1950
Publisher: Viking