THREE O'CLOCK DINNER by Josephine Pinckney


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A more sophisticated and more subtle handling of the Charleston mores than Molloy's Pride's Way, but at the same time again searching of the roots that sustain this city in its conviction of less majesty. The action is concentrated into a few intense days, during which the links are forged and smashed between the aristocratic Redcliffs and the new-come-to-power Hessenwinkles. There's Judith, widowed after a brief costatic marriage to Fen Redcliff, Judith morbidly wearing her martyr's crown and doubting the validity of her memories; there's Fen's younger brother, Tat, touched with the fringes of the parior pinks, whose infatuation for Lorena Hessenwinkle is at war with his conviction that a free relationship alone is right -- and who is precipitated into marriage because of family opposition. And then -- gallantly -- the Redcliffs give a dinner -- three o'clock on Sunday is the custom and they do not deviate. And at the dinner Lorena kicks over the traces, old and new, lets the world of Redcliffs know that she had born Fen's child -- and that it was Fen not Tat she loved. After that nothing else matters much -- all bars are down -- Lorena leaves town -- Judith adopts her child -- and an era ends...Somehow, the stress on psychological -- almost pathological implications is greater than the outline of plot, the validity of setting, the vitality of characterization.

Pub Date: Sept. 2nd, 1945
ISBN: 1570034230
Publisher: Viking