FROM THE TERRACE by John O'Hara

FROM THE TERRACE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A direct descendant of A Rage (1949) and Ten North (1955) this again has its roots in eastern Pennsylvania and goes further when its central character, Raymond Alfred Eaton pursues the pattern initiated by the rebuffs and rejection and the purposeful neglect by his father, the guilt associations with the death of a young girl and an older woman, and the escapism of his mother. Samuel Eaton, head of his own iron works, turns against Alfred with the death of his first drives him to an inner loneliness and defensiveness which prep school and Princeton help, first, to intensify and then diminish. Contacts with the world of wealth through Lex Porter, the Navy in World War I, and the money he send him to New York City for a fling in airplane production after his marriage to Mary. His association with the powerful private bank of MacHardie & Company insures that the marriage will continue in spite of his love for Natalie, and his term an Assistant Secretary of the Navy in World War II leaves its mark with the death of his first son, so that when divorce from Mary is finally accomplished Natalie eventually is the wife of a man who, in failing himself, has also failed others.... An expert in the analysis, of social and sexual tribal rites, O'Hara here has indulged his talent to its extreme point and, through the various relationships involving Alfred, charts physical intimacies, business machinations, governmental attitudes and many forms of social behavior on all levels. Through all the states of love -- hate -- pity there is seldom any state of grace, and an overwhelming sense of explicit reportage makes this sometimes appear to be a too revealing mirror, in which a present anguish is reflected in its cumulative influential past. Neither as tortuous as Love nor as caustically understanding as The Wapshot Chronickle this still makes its bid for those readers for whom the clinically investigative process has its fascination.
Pub Date: Nov. 27th, 1958
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1958




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