THE PRECIPICE by Hugh MacLennan


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Readers will like this book; critics will feel that it doesn't measure up to the promise of Two Solitudes. It is a story of marriage- a marriage that threatens to go on the rocks of the inelasticity of two personalities,- Lucy Cameron- Canadian and Scotch in tradition and upbringing; and Stephen Lazziter, an American engineer, as deeply in love with Lucy as his nature permits, but lacking the moral fibre that would meet Lucy's requirements. A whirlwind of courtship in a backwater, Victorian town in Ontario -- a radiant blossoming of a woman, whose emotional life had been frozen by her home life -- and then catastrophe, as Stephen faces disillusionment in his job (there's a bit of The Hucksters here), boredom in the very serenity of his home life -- and seeks excitement and approval elsewhere, in New York during the hysterical days of the war. MacLennan would seem to labor the point of the differences being rooted in nationalities; actually, his story, his characterizations, fail to bear out his contention. Upbringing, perhaps -- but the assumption that Stephen's failures are wholly of the United States -- while Lucy's strength is Canadian, will meet dissent this side the border! The picture of the little Canadian town has a certain wistful, nostalgic charm; the feverish glitter and superficiality of New York's smart set carries less conviction-but will capture the interest of some readers. The characters --particularly the American ones- seem types rather than fully realized people. But the story holds the interest.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1948
Publisher: Duell, Sloan & Pearce