CROSSROADS by James McConkey


Email this review


The subtitle announces that this is an autobiographical novel, a statement novelists usually treat as an accusation rather than something to embrace. The preface explains that this is an attempt to impose a form of fictional order on the uncontrollable disorder of real life. Recollections of adult years lived in the 1960's trace back to events and remembered emotions in a depression era, anxiety-ridden childhood, slide back to the active service in World War II, and return to the 1960's to mirror a man's past in his present. It's very well done and disarms with its ability to convey a sense of searching after truth, because the repeatedly remembered events do change a little and the re-analysis of old reactions do produce different conclusions. All this suggests a necessity for Proustian comparisons but this is an attractively ordinary American family man offering an extraordinary glimpse into his concerns and their origins. Easier to follow than to describe, these concerns are his wife and son, his university teaching post and attendant professional problems, his home and his depression boy's responses to ownership, cares and repairs. That a decent life is either meaningful or potentially dramatic has not had any intelligent novelistic attention lately. This could be the season's sleeper. However, cash registers and circulation counts toward one side, this is worth stocking.

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 1967
Publisher: Dutton