THE SOUND OF BOW BELLS by Jerome Weidman


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A not unfamiliar theme from Jerome Weidman- but with new trappings- for the making of a writer, Sam Silver from New York's lower East side, at the near cost of the destruction of a Jew. But full circle, years later he accomplishes his return to the acknowledgement of his origins. Widowed for eleven years, Sam's day of activities is linked to the past events of his life when his betrayal of Jennie Broom at their commencement cost him the award that would have sent him to college. This in turn proved the root of his becoming a writer, for he turns the story of her hard-hearted act into a short story which is bought by a small magazine and he is thereby signed up by Sargents' agency. Jennie is again the dea ex machina as she commits him to unethical practices. His novel fails to win a contest but when Jennie gets him on the front page it is sold for publication. Marriage to her proves a torment with her unflagging, indomitable drive to move ""uptown"". Her presumed death and the shock of her relations with an aging writer, the raising of their son now ready for his bar mitzvah, the question of his proposed marriage to wealthy, divorced Rebecca find a climax when Jennie reappears--after eleven years (she had not been on the plane that crashed) and her final treachery- combine to force him into making some resolute decisions. There are hard to believe contrasts in the portrait of the too too clever Jennie and the honest, naively innocent Sam. But the constant dissection of writers, writing, publishing in its ramifications and cut-throat techniques is workmanlike in its knowhow. Variations on a theme (of an earlier book, The Enemy Camp-1958) carry on a tumbling, crowded story.

Pub Date: July 25th, 1962
Publisher: Random House