MEN AND BRETHREN
James Gould Cozzens
With The Last Adam Cozzens reached best seller ranks. This new novel, published three years later, shows the same in-seeing quality, the same ability to present his main character for what he is, with no judicial prerogative of the creator to weigh his virtues and his vices, his essential humanity and his essential compromises. On two counts, however, Men and Brethren seems to us less likely to attain equal stature, judged by numbers of sales. First, the central figure is a youngish clergyman, the setting the clergyhouse of a large New York City parish, the characters, other members of the clerical staff, and the people who cross their paths in a day. The handling of the clerical background and characters may offend some of your conservatives, since the author sees his clerics as human beings, first and last -- and too many of their parishioners still prefer them on pedestals. Second, The Last Adam was a milestone in the handling of the small town -- there have been many followers. This book takes the city -- a tiny corner of it -- and puts a strong searchlight on its motivation. The subject is, perhaps, less appealing. In itself, the book deserves high commendation -- for its deft handling, for its courage, for its challenge. An important book -- one sure to create interest, controversy, sympathy -- and the reverse. Watch it. The first important high spot on an important list. Extensive advertising.