A COMMUNITY OF MEN by John Kiddell


Email this review


The Australian trio of males who proved themselves to their parents in Euloowirree Walkabout are twentyish here, proving themselves to themselves. Hamish and David are law students, Bottle and David's sister Ann are in medicine: during their search for a place to produce hyper-intellectual Hamish's first play they become involved with a boys' home run by a defrocked minister on a skimpy annuity; and when Dr. Madden dies--and his annuity with him--they recognize that involvement to be inextricable. Responsible by default since there's no one else for 22 children who need to be cared about, they confront staggering money problems but refuse to compromise principles of incipient adulthood by accepting help from the Ancients (their parents). Obstacles crop up in the forms of red tape in the Child Welfare Bureau, a measles epidemic, six nosy neighbors in flowered hats crusading for local morality, a bad do-gooder parson, University schedules and housekeeping demands. . . in the course of which the separate characters of the big boys and some of the little ones are defined. Hamish, most hung up of them all on the principle-issue, learns the meaning and virtues of noble compromise at the end: ""I'm not at all sure that we didn't get more from the concessions we made than we gave away,"" whereupon David explains ""You were just too engrossed with yourself to see that compromise was never needed in the sell-out sense."" The Community of Men, not just nominally masculine, is an intense T-group in action--sometimes too intense, replacing Eulowirree's vitality with a less becoming studied deliberacy.

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 1969
Publisher: Chilton