THE WAPSHOT CHRONICLE

In a patchwork of family life is the pattern of Captain Leander's belief in the "unobserved ceremoniousness" of life which is a "gesture and sacrament toward the excellence and continuousness of things" and through parts of his diary, episodes in St. Botolph's, at the Wapshots' West Farm (on the New England coast), and in the gropings of his sons, Moses and Coverly, the lineage and heritage come through. Come through from an undated Independence Day to Leander's death after both the boys have left home because of Cousin Honora's financial blackmailing; after Leander has lost, regained and lost again the ferry-boat which was his reason for living; after the daughter — who was not his — of an earlier marriage- has tried to claim him; after his wife has converted the ferryboat into a fussy tearoom and gifte shoppe. Through the years Moses has been dismissed from a Washington top secret job, Coverly has become a part of rocket launching as a Taper and been deserted by his wife, and Moses' marriage to the ward of a distant, wealthy, unpredictable, vengeful widowed cousin has had time to turn from bad and then to good when the old harridan's ramparts burn, and the boys make good with sons to claim Honora's promised inheritance. And since the financial security is based on Wapshot virility, the Wapshots have their interest in women from a basically sexual approach; and since their father believes in the romance and nonsense, the joy and the cockiness of living, theirs is an uncharted course — for Coverly almost turning to homosexuality and Moses trying to maintain some balance in a household of financial dependents. The interludes of Leander's diary and of Honora's disturbances have a tart sting and the whole offers candor and a loving care for men and their concerns in a world tyrannized by women. A rowdy, bawdy, feeling, root-sensed New England gallery, this has its high — and not quite so high — moments for an audience which may suffer shock but never shame. Watch the critics.

Pub Date: June 15, 1957

ISBN: 0060528877

Page Count: 372

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1957

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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