THE LONG LOVE by John Sedges


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This should prove a very popular book with the conservative reader who is demanding a story with sound principles, who likes faintly nostalgic background details. Frankly, I felt this an oddly old fashioned story of a marriage -- which in the course of its pages recaptures the portrait of a period, an attitude towards marriage, towards life in general. ""Edward Haslatt was a young man both intelligent and cautious."" This is the first sentence of the book and it sets the key to the whole story. Edward marries Margaret Seaton, who is socially above him; he learns to accept what she brings to the marriage; and eventually he learns- through the difficult hard way of what might have been a threat to that marriage -- the ways in which he fails her. The knowledge is there and governs their later years, though Edward never wholly overcomes his ""caution"". Caution in self expression; caution in generosity of giving. His one grave venture comes when he publishes Lewis Harrow, and that story recalls- at various points- the story of Thomas Wolfe. The eventual marriage of Lewis to Haslatt's daughter is perhaps symbolic of his worship of Haslatt's wife, and never quite rings true. The pattern of the whole story is embroidered with punctiliously catalogued details of the half century, roughly speaking, that the story spans, and much of its appeal will lie in that accuracy of portrayal which gives the reader in middle life a sense of recognition. Now- three weeks after reading the proofs, we have news that this is to be November Literary Guild selection. And the grapevine hints at the identity of the author, for John Sedges has long been known to be a pseudonym. Remember the memorable The Townsman? Too good a book to be forgotten. Viewing the two books, my hunch is that ""John Sedges"" may cloak a collaboration.

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1949
Publisher: John Day