SHORT TERM by Jay Richard Kennedy


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I resented the impact of Prince Bart (1953), a book I loathed but could not forget or ignore. Short Term has much of the same power, a kind of magnetic quality that makes one care what happens to the characters- but is a better integrated book, a less violent and impassioned book, a more controlled and mature book. The background has none of the glamor (for the millions) of the Hollywood montage, for Mr. Kennedy deals this time with the tumultuous world of Wall Street. And in the degree to which he immerses himself and his reader in the machinations behind the facade of the bull market and the people who manipulate it, this is largely a man's book. (Not that Wall Street hasn't its quota of women- but do they want to know the sordid doubledealing and shenanigans behind the wealth and prestige and gentility of the Street?) Through this- holding himself apart, but born to be part of it- walks Kenneth F. Preston, last of his line- a line that lives in the mementoes of the past, the security of wealth, the minutiae of tradition. Ken is an icicle, emotionally, an empty shell, until he meets and loves Laurie, half his age, and from the wrong side of the tracks. It is a strange love story- the untouched Ken, and Laurie, faintly soiled. And their respective pasts rise up to smite them. Almost the marriage goes on the rocks of bitterness, distrust, jealousy, misunderstanding and pride. And meantime, Ken has become a power- and the juggernaut takes over. There's an integrity to both characters that somehow rises above their pettiness, weakness, susceptibility, so that the reader cares what happens to them as people, to the things for which they stand, to the marriage that had brought them both to maturity. There are scenes that will be distasteful to many; there are overlong passages of self-examination in stream of consciousness style; there is- for the average reader- far too much of the machinery and philosophy of Wall Street- in relation not only to Ken but to his partners. But again, like it or not, this is a book not to be ignored.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1959
Publisher: World