THE OTHER FATHER by Laura Z. Hobson


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An oddly introverted sort of book, dealing in rather tortured terms with the problem of extra-marital affairs on two age levels, as father and daughter are simultaneously involved, he with a much younger women, she with a much older men. The father, Andy, has tangled emotional values -- a sort of acid loyalty to the wife who now bores him sexually, a worship of Peg, the daughter, which only at the end does he realize has something of perversion in its intensity, a dependence on his sister, Edith, for a sort of family solidarity, a casual acceptance of Bill, his almost grown, and even-tempered son, and an erratic enthusiasm for small Betty, checkered with spurts of sudden temper. All of this he tries to see himself putting aside for a more complete relationship with Ruth, whose unhappy marriage had crashed, and who idolizes him, giving him the admiration he craves. Into this situation is thrust the knowledge that Peg is having an affair with a married man. He tries to deny it- tries to avoid facing the similarity of situation with his own -- and in running from his own hurt, strikes out at everyone else- eventually smashing his own relations with Ruth, and coming close to the edge of defeat and suicide. Only when- at the end- he faces his own feelings for Peg as at the root of all the other upheavals, and spares her that knowledge, does he know he has reached maturity enough to live with himself.... Somehow, while there is latent in the story a depth of understanding of entanglements that many people are involved in, the author never quite seems to come to grips with vital issues of fundamental character; she keeps her ramifications of plot and personality on a level of surface values, surface interpretations. Not as challenging a book as Gentleman's Agreement. But a book with certain contemporary challenges of its own.

Pub Date: May 11th, 1950
Publisher: Simon & Schuster