TEN NORTH FREDERICK by John O'Hara

TEN NORTH FREDERICK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A new novel is in a direct line of descent from A Rage to Live, and is not only an exhaustive exposition of the lives behind the solid brownstone and mahogany respectability of Ten North Frederick, but also a close cross-section of Gibbsville, Pennsylvania. O'Hara who does for this world much that Fitzgerald did for an earlier society- (and Marquand today for still another sphere) assembles the dossier on this town with all its tattletale social stigmata and inflections; the outward show of solidity, the private discontent and disaffection; the inheritance of money and social unassailability which cannot compensate for the threadbare spiritual satisfactions. This is particularly true of Joe Chapin, who lived his life at this address, only to know at the end how little he had gotten out of it. This is the chronology of that life from birth to death along with that of other leading citizens of Gibbsville; its banker, doctor, judge, newspaperman, his friend and partner in a law firm- Arthur, along with some- on the way up- and others who like Joe, stood still. His marriage to Edith offered no warmth, just the pride of possession (hers) and an exemplary display of uxorious devotion; his naive sortie into politics ended with the knowledge that he had wanted a few years and a little more money; and it was one night spent- and never forgotten- with a friend of his daughter's which returned him to Gibbsville with the realization of all he had never found- and to the quiet, steady drinking which was to take his life.... An explicit- and in many ways- expert documentation, there will be many readers for whom this will have a tremendous recognition value to assure a solid audience.
Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1955
ISBN: 0881841730
Page count: 408pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1955




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