MY BROTHER'S KEEPER by Marcia Davenport
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MY BROTHER'S KEEPER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

*A ringer this- and people are talking about it already after the first installment of serialization in Good Housekeeping, so it won't even need the impetus of Marcia Davenport's fame and Book of the Month selection to get started. The so-called ""Collier case"" was more than a nine days' wonder when the incredible story broke, and this is quite evidently patterned on that gruesome story. An extraordinary feat of imaginative recreation this, as the author turns the pages back to the childhood of the Holt brothers, as the domination of an ageing grandmother poisoned their lives, unsettled the mind of their gentle mother, and insured continuing control through the terms of a fantastic will. Seymour, the elder of the two, learned to seem to conform, and grasped- as the years passed- every trick to snatch savor from a dessicated life. Randall, whose musical talent was his mother's sole delight, was over-sensitive, puritanical in his emotional response, withdrawn from a turbulent world. As the years passed it was Randall who kept meticulous notes, which, ostensibly, form the basis for this recapturing of the past:- His romance with its tragic outcome, scarring forever the beauty of memory with the doubts which involved both the lovely Italian singer and Seymour, the brother; the coming of the child -- and the decision to snatch him from the danger of another blasted life as Seymour came to be, even in his blindness, more like his grandmother; the interlude in Italy and the renunciation, when paralysis immobilized Seymour and made Randall's return imperative; and finally, the years of obsessive degeneration, as the two strange brothers lived out their span in the rabbit warren of filth, trash, and a hodgepodge of the accumulation of generations, until they died, victims of their own fears and miserliness. There's morbid fascination in the unrolling of the evidence. Superb story-telling, so that- while you know the end- there is no moment when the tortuous chain of incidents building to a psychological horror fails to hold interest.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1954
Publisher: Scribner