THE HARM IS DONE by Joan Forton


Email this review


A time just past childhood, the setting here is a small French soaport town unsettled by the disappearance (at intervals) of five young girls. Once removed from the edge suspicion of their parents-and the police, are three adolescents who become friends during the course of the action here: at first Ledru and Frieman, something of a bully and a braggart, and later Stephans, the brother of a young girl, Nathalie, with whom Ledru falls romantically in love. They all find a sympathetic mentor in Gustave, the street artist, a gentle, humble, protective figure who is also the target of adult abuse. In time Frieman competes with Ledru for Nathalie, Stephane intervenes- to determine who shall win her; and in his attempt to prove himself- for Nathalic, Ledru is responsible for the boax which will lead to Gustave's death.... While the action of the story is somewhat fitfully pursued (Nathalie's abduction- at the end- is almost an afterthought), Forton heightens his drama with a sense of contrasts: loyalty versus betrayal; the guilty sensual pre of the adolescent versus his innocent idealizations; etc., etc. It is not as successful as the earlier study Isabelle and may well escape notice.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1961
Publisher: Criterion